ALBUM REVIEW: Pissed Jeans – Half Divorced

Even in a world of Butthole Surfers and Cuntroaches, there’s something about the name Pissed Jeans that’s so… gross. In terms of bands with names that might bother your parents though, the Pennsylvanian four-piece’s latest record Half Divorced (Sub Pop), has more in common with The Circle Jerks (not to mention Black Flag and Fear). This album here is quintessentially hardcore in spirit (and often in sound too).

Pissed Jeans have had plenty of time to hone their craft (this being their sixth full-length, since forming in 2004) and on Half Divorced, they certainly know what they’re doing and how to do their thing with maximum impact and no shortage of catchy hooks and choruses.

That “thing” is pretty much Hardcore Punk. There are various permutations and allusions to your favourite hardcore, punk and noise-rock bands of years gone by (there’s even a splash of label-mates Mudhoney in there). Basically, it’s raging, noisy punk rock, with a surface appearance of chaos that’s actually tight as a drum — and they’re funny with it.

Opener “Killing All The Wrong People” showcases both the furious energy and demented black humour that permeates the record. The clattering drums that sound like they’re falling down a mountain, without missing a beat, is married to a kind of Jesus Lizard guitar anxiety while vocalist Matt Korvette froths at the mouth like Lee Ving’s (Fear) hyperactive, younger cousin.

Seven of the album’s twelve tracks come in under two minutes a pop. These tend to be the most referentially hardcore. By and large, there’s something to elevate each track, like the great, nimble bass playing on “Cling to a Poisoned Dream”, neat, little drum flourishes on “Sixty-Two Thousand Dollars In Debt”, or the churning thunder of “Alive With Hate”, which brims with squealing guitars and pummelling drum rolls.

The album probably reaches its peak right in the middle, however, with third-longest-track “Everywhere Is Bad”. Intentionally drunk and almost out-of-tune sounding, with its descending guitar lines, Korvette gets into a “TV Party”- style back and forth with his bandmates on why every possible location is bad. They push the concept to absurd and hilarious limits and it’s hard not to get caught up in the “everywhere, everywhere, everywhere is bad” chanting.

Half Divorced is good, dirty fun for people with a warped sense of humour and a taste for abrasive guitar music. The world may be going down in flames but Pissed Jeans, it seems, will have plenty of people singing along as the smoke rises.

Buy the album here:


8 / 10