Album Reviews

Pissed Jeans – Half Divorced

(Sub Pop) UK release date: 1 March 2024

An adrenaline rush of a punk album, an electric shock in a world of flabby gas, from a band descended from legends

Pissed Jeans - Half Divorced Much like cash, reasonably priced alcoholic beverages and affordable mortgage rates, pure punk music is becoming increasingly hard to find these days. Even if you do find punk, it’s usually always prefixed with pop- or post-, with the punk spectrum now spanning Machine Gun Kelly (pop-punk) to Gilla Band (post-punk), who you can rest assured have precisely zero in common except for the use of instruments.

Pissed Jeans are a punk band. A simple, powerful band who express their feelings and ideas in a way that resembles traditional American punk styles and traditional American punk bands. Across their entire catalogue – and especially on new album Half Divorced – you’ll hear songs played at a breakneck pace with no consideration for your poor (increasingly aged) neck muscles. You’ll also hear gloomy, chunky riffs played in the way Greg Ginn first pioneered them in the 1980s. They are descendants of The Stooges, MC5, The Ramones, Black Flag, The Misfits, The Germs… all the legends. And it shows in the quality of their music.

It’s amazing what great punk bands have been able to do with such a focus on concision and succinctness, and Pissed Jeans are no exception. Though there are longer tracks here, the average song length is below two minutes, and it’s definitely in the shorter songs where you’ll find most of the highlights.

The opener, Killing All the Wrong People, is just a shade over at 02:19, is a violent, abrasive introduction to an album that alternates between ‘annoyed’, ‘angry’ and ‘positively murderous’. Second track Anti-Sapio has shades of classic-era The Misfits in its shoutalong gang vocals and its buzzsaw guitars. Helicopter Parent is a bilious tirade wrapped inside a titanium outer shell, and it absolutely slaps. Cling to a Poisoned Dream and Seatbelt Alarm Silencer are both under 90 seconds, but do a lot with a little. The latter is a furious, relentless pounder that takes barely a fragment of a second for breath. The former is more methodical, and even takes the time to let a little drum break in amongst all the chaos.

The longest song, Junktime, stretches out to over five and a half minutes, and recalls the doomier strains of Black Flag in its sheer rawness and uncompromising metallic edge (see also: Stolen Catalytic Converter). Moving On, the closer, reaches almost the same giddy lengths, but focuses more on the sloppy drunken punk that the band have always done so well.

This is an adrenaline rush of an album, an electric shock in a world of flabby gas. Proof, if any were needed, that it’s possible to reinvent the wheel if you’re committed enough to the spin.

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