Album review: Pissed Jeans – Half Divorced

Pennsylvanian sludge-punks Pissed Jeans hit the gas on hardcore-fuelled sixth album, Half Divorced.

Album review: Pissed Jeans – Half Divorced
Olly Thomas

With a couple decades and five albums of confrontational noise rock in the bag, Pissed Jeans threw fans something of a curveball with the first single from Half Divorced. Moving On possesses the anthemic suss of post-Springsteen outfits like The Hold Steady, or maybe Fucked Up at their most melodic’n’mid-tempo. But if its radio-friendly sparkle is decidedly a red herring, it nonetheless reflects a mission to deliver shock and awe.

This time round, Pissed Jeans have pushed their typical pace from slurred sludge into hardcore territory. There’s a winningly gonzo quality to the frenetic Seatbelt Alarm Silencer or Anti-Sapio’s yell-along catchiness, while Cling To A Poisoned Dream delivers cynicism at breakneck speed. Where once this lot would occasionally sound like the doomy Black Flag of My War, now they blaze with the fury of the Californian legends’ earlier work on Alive With Hate, or echo the dorky humour of TV Party on Everywhere Is Bad.

The lurching crawl of Junktime is more akin to the Jeans of old, while the mordant wit of vocalist Matt Korvette’s lyrics is as vital as ever throughout. The absurdities of adulthood and the banalities of everyday life remain fuel to his ire, as demonstrated by titles like Helicopter Parent, (Stolen) Catalytic Converter or Sixty-Two Thousand Dollars In Debt – the latter’s punchline one that will resonate bitterly with any working stiff mired in financial woe.

At the point where most bands start to slow down, Pissed Jeans have hit the accelerator. But then, they’ve never been “most bands”, so maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise that this fantastically punchy piece of work is so much more fun than you’d expect from anybody’s sixth album.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Black Flag, Mudhoney, USA Nails

Half Divorced is released on March 1 via Sub Pop

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