I know nothing about this band except what I had read in a Pitchfork review. I’d never heard their music. Pitchfork mentioned something about Flipper and that was good enough for me. So what is this band Pissed Jeans all about? Pitchfork tell me that they come from Pennsylvania and they had a previous record which was faster than Hope for Men. The review mentioned Flipper, Jesus Lizard, Black Flag and Drunks with Guns. Having now listened to this record for about two weeks I’ll respectfully agree with the analysis except to say this. Ladies and Gentlemen, I introduce you to the first Rollins Band tribute band. Well at least for the vast majority of it.
I actually like this record. It’s not exactly essential and I understand why many would be offended at the tribute band comparison, but when I write Rollins Band tribute band I mean it in the nicest possible way. Hope of Men reminds me of early Rollins. You know, when he had a decent backing band, as opposed to say Black Flag. Lifetime, Hard Volume, Hot Animal Machine and Turned On are some of my favourite records and every music snob knows that he sucked after those four albums (this coming from the retard that bought his fucking books!) There are of course many differences. The lead singer of Pissed Jeans is more David Yow than Henry Rollins and at least Pissed Jeans don’t fucking crash on the cymbals all of the time like that fucktard drummer from the Rollins Band did. Driving, unrelenting rock drives both bands but Pissed Jeans do it with far less variety and a little more punky hardcore intent. I have difficulties getting a great deal of Flipper in what Pissed Jeans do. Perhaps it’s the sludgy production that brings the comparisons.
It’s not all driving punk rock though. Scrapbooking (track 4) is by far the funniest thing I’ve heard in sometime. Now my distrust, nay hatred, of craft has caused difficulties with my extended family and friends. I don’t understand it and I don’t understand why anyone would want to do it. My partner feels the same way. When my son was born she joined a mother’s group and all was going well until I got the call at work one day. “They’re all fucking scrapbookers.” The disappointment in her voice seeped down the phone like some optic-fibre virus. Now they didn’t all end up being scrapbookers and luckily for her, scrapbooking has never been discussed past that fateful meeting and they have stayed in regular contact but I sense the anxiety lingers. Pissed Jeans makes scrapbooking equally melodramatic. Now the words themselves would make anyone at Soozadoo nod their heads in a knowing semi-cultlike manner. “I bought a pair of special scissors to cut out a nice design/ make every page different”. The lyrics are set to a spooky Nick Cave-esque Your Funeral My Trial style dirge and every now and then its interrupted by an Alan Vega style yelp. Now the man sounds drunk and seems like he is about to lapse into unconsciousness every time he spits out the words Looking at Pictures. In fact he sounds at times like he’s going to vomit. How very fucking punk rock of him.
After Scrapbooking, Hope for Men continues in the same punk rock vein. There is little respite from the driving rock. (yeah I know I’ve said that already). Each track settles it’s intent early and bludgeons itself until it implodes. Some variety kicks in again on Track 9 The Jogger. Now I own a lot of early Swans records. They are fucking awful. The Jogger sounds like the Swans. Join the fucking dots people. Pissed Jeans do what they do very well, It’s just not the best thing going around right now.