Hope For Men
(Sub Pop; 2007)
By Clayton Purdom | 30 October 2007
This is just fucking noise! Just fucking piles of jagged, scrap-heap noise, deserts of incandescent heat dotted with fucking shrapnel-like glints of noise, hurricanes of fucking noise washing in waves of unwavering vicissitude. Pissed Jeans are as drastic as they seem. This is dead-serious hot fury like lightning striking tin, drums pummeling beneath the manic echoing guitar screams on “People Person,” nightmare feedback over somnambulant drum patter on “The Jogger,” demonic slow-motion fistfucking on “Secret Admirer.” You’ve heard these sounds before — you’ve heard music warped like this, sure, you’ve heard Shellac reach these tones — but Pissed Jeans do it as well, and as confrontationally, as anyone. Again and again, Hope For Men reiterates: this is fucking noise.
The band twists its sound around some surprisingly familiar forms, at times the cherished bar-punk of their earlier 7“s (“A Bad Wind,” holy shit), at times some drawn-and-quartered Stooges blues. When they reach the far end of this spectrum, as they do on cavernous “Scrapbooking,” they resound with the polished shallowness of a band trying very, very hard to be better than they are. “The Jogger” sounds like Lou Reed poetry over Wolf Eyes circlejerking — is this something we need? It’s quite a sound, in other words, that this band has developed over its few quick releases, but on this big Sub Pop debut Pissed Jeans have applied it to a few impersonations too many.
There’s a big “but” to Pissed Jeans, though, a befuddling “but” that’s a danger to make too big — or too little — a deal out of. Some of the lyrics wrenched out of Matt Korvette’s mouth are the type of gut-busting funny shit that only comes from a lifetime of snarkiness, a vitriolic cross between Mclusky punchlines and I’m From Barcelona subject matter. To wit: “I’m a special guy in my fantasy world,” from “Fantasy World”; “Whole Foods / Matching outfit / Ford Explorer,” from “The Jogger”; “Just a taste and all my troubles fall behind / Sweet bowl of sugar is there to ease my mind” from “I’ve Still Got You (Ice Cream).” These words come printed cleanly in the liner notes, a fuck-you toward dead serious noise purists as much as one toward, like, joggers and people persons. An altogether affable, engaging guttural punk record, Pissed Jeans are not near as drastic as they seem.