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This review is from: Honeys (Audio CD)
Ever since Sub Pop snagged the snarling METZ debut last year a popular tagline has been doing the rounds that they were the first band that sounded truly at home on the iconic label for some time. Pity then the forgotten majesty of Pennsylvania four-piece Pissed Jeans, who have been turning in tailor-made hardcore sludge for what is approaching a decade. Honeys is now their third long-player for Sub Pop and fourth overall, and from the off it's clear that time is no healer when it comes to the band's raw noise.
Yet, despite the white-knuckle pace of "Bathroom Laughter", its tortured bass and Matt "Korvette" Kosloff`s G-force gargle, Pissed Jeans are a band heading in two directions at once whilst retaining their nauseous core all the same. The paranoid "Chain Worker", for example, though still channelling the teeth-clenched spirit of Big Black and Jesus Lizard, markedly reduces its pace to an evil and creepy prowl. "Cafeteria Food" too is a real drudge with an almost dead, near-spoken vocal stream.
On the other hand, you have the caustic "Vain In Costume", which is - dare we say it - relatively catchy, even though it remains akin to being repeatedly hit in the face by literal Rocket(s) From The Crypt. It's not the only one either - the bluesy "Loubs" performs a similar trick beneath Randy Huth`s fearsome chainsaw-bass stomp.
Fear not though, for it's business as usual most elsewhere. "Cathouse" is a frenetic barrage of guitar and angst from which Bradley Fry manages to rip a strangled solo, and he's got another up his sleeve during the pyroclastic flow of fists and teeth that is "Health Plan" - an otherwise hell-for-leather portrait of modern American disillusionment. The visceral closer, "Teenage Adult", then picks out its crunching bass riff with the precision of a sniper but the firepower of a howitzer, Korvette sneering all the while above the pant-wetting roar.
Pissed Jeans are not evolving in so much as they're experimenting, tinkering with their sound whilst being intelligent enough to leave their most dangerous edges ever-present in order to gouge the unwary and require a mopping out of spit and bile from the ears. It's true that, on paper, a punk band has rarely looked so unassuming, but theirs is a spark that ignites on record and downright explodes on stage. Honeys more than continues this trend, surely ensuring that Pissed Jeans won't again be overlooked in favour of some latest flavour of the month.
Advised downloads: "Bathroom Laughter" and "Health Plan".