Monday record review 6/18/2012: "King of Jeans" by Pissed Jeans.

When looked at through anything but a fine lens, there’s no need to complain: how many people, at this point, would kill to have a job? Everyone knows how bad it is out there. And how about a white collar job? Not having to work with your hands all day sounds pretty good.

Pissed Jeans knows this, of course. But they also know a little about juxtaposition, and its effects.

Pummeling music of the brand they play—think AmRep and you’re very much on the right track—usually concerns itself with both caustics riffs and topics, either heavy or repulsive or both. But rather than noisily ruminating here on car parts or napalm or broads, singer Matt Korvette focuses in on jogging, drinking water, going bald.

Which is part of the joke. Willfully defying the expectations of the genre is something Pissed Jeans excels at—their wry humor, especially in “Spent,” which turns the everyday into a full-on sludge tantrum—is both unexpected (if / when you’re first introduced to the band) and refreshing, for usually bands of this ilk take themselves way seriously, to the point where the lyrics are lost, tropes of the genre once terrifying, now mundane.


But it’s easy to see this as completely serious, that’s the thing. Because the new noise in your car after getting back from the mechanics means the cycle starts again. And dammit, it shouldn’t start again. It should be a world where nothing’s a bother. Korvette could bring the coldest six pack to a party, as he threatens to do in “False Jesii Part II,” but then he’d just have to buy another one the next time. Best to sit and try to keep ducks in rows.

False Jesii Part II

But like I said, there’s no real reason to complain. Or, if you’re so inclined, to even listen to the lyrics. This is aggressive music, which you can bang your head along to—in which case, you’re being mocked, if you’re not in on the joke.

If you are in on it, maybe the music lets you forget all those nagging problems. At least until the show ends (they’re an amazing live band, bringing comedic timing, gestures and facial expressions to the fore). Or the record. In which case you need to either deal with it—whatever it is—or start the record again. Or just not care to begin with. But you do. Because you’re there. And because with Pissed Jeans, being in on the joke is part of the joke.

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