Half Divorced by Pissed Jeans

Release date: March 1, 2024
Label: Sub Pop

I remember once purchasing a Pissed Jeans album, 2007’s Hope For Men. I’ll be brutally honest here and admit I couldn’t tell you what the American band sound like, but seeing their name again raised my interest enough to find out what they sound like, now. The track in question ‘Moving On’, taken from their sixth album Half Divorced, really hit the spot with me so I jumped on the chance to review the album. It turns out that Pissed Jeans have been making albums steadily for almost twenty years. The band which consists of vocalist Matt Korvette, guitarist Brad Fry, bassist Randy Huth and drummer Sean McGuiness took their sweet time completing this album. Korvette explains “we’re not the kind of band that bangs out a new record every two years…Pissed Jeans is truly like an art project for us, which is what makes it so fun”. I can confirm that this record does indeed sound like fun, albeit made by a group of men that have got married, became fathers then got divorced. Hence the title.

Opening track ‘Killing All The Wrong People’ is a blistering acerbic face ripper that hurtles along at breakneck pace. Matt sounds like he’s drowning as he spews bilious and barbed rage. It’s a red herring for the rest of the album and brave to put as first track, as you might not want to experience any more Pissed Jeans if this is your initial foray into the band. Mercifully ‘Anti-Sapio’ gets things into a steadier flow. Channelling some fiery punk in the vein of Fucked Up the melody is kept in check with some searing guitars and snotty vocals. ‘Helicopter Parent’ takes the tempo down a tiny notch with a pumping beat and riffs that mangle and clank with like a broken machine. Think of a heavier IDLES, but with an American accent.

 

The vicious ‘Cling To A Poisoned Dream’ shakes like an enraged dog fed up with his toy, ripping it to bits. ‘Sixty-Two Thousand Dollars in Debt’ mainlines on some heads down snappy riffing that aims to please with a short sharp burst. No messing. ‘Everywhere is Bad’ name checks lots of US towns/states with Matt replying what he hates about each place. The conclusion is that “Everywhere you go, there’s one thing you should know, that’s everywhere is bad!”. It’s ultimately a silly song but has a kooky charm about it. It’s also insanely catchy. ‘Junktime’ once again comes over like a US counterpart to the edgy staccato punk of IDLES but with a greater heft in the louder bits. The mix/balance of the album is superb at capturing the muscle of the performance.

In true punk rock fashion, the second half of the album rattles by in the blink of an eye. The snarling ‘Alive With Hate’, ‘Seatbelt Alarm Silencer’, ‘(Stolen) Catalytic Converter’ and ‘Monsters’ (a cover version) all leave you breathless and wondering what the fuck just happened. Low on melody and high on volume, they take no prisoners and leave you bloody nosed. Finally, closing track and album highlight, the swirling ‘Moving On’ brings about some happy pogoing, based on a spright shimmering riff that wouldn’t be out of place on a Fucked Up album. The chorus is another prime punk pop earworm and I’d have loved more of this. It was this track that hooked me to review the album, as I’m a big fan of Fucked Up.

I’ve been living with Half Divorced for a few months now and it’s a great record to put on to blow away cobwebs or dispel those winter blues. I’d long forgotten about Pissed Jeans, but this album has rekindled my interest enough to go back and listen to what I’ve missed out on. With the punk genre having greater mainstream exposure with bands like the aforementioned IDLES and Fucked Up, Pissed Jeans may well find themselves the recipient of some extra attention.

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