Have Pissed Jeans been sleeping in a soggy dustbin for the last two years? What have they been stewing themselves in to produce these wretched tones? On Why Love Now, their fifth album, the only way is down. Time hasn’t healed wounds, it hasn’t brought wisdom, only a thick layer of filth and decay.
‘Waiting On My Horrible Warning’ is frontman Matt Korvette’s gargling salvo, guttural and gutter-sludge thick, unspooling messily like a week-old whitehead. His vocals have always fallen on the disgusting side of Lemmy, but here he switches between razorblade bark and warbling, sausage-meat drawl. It’s genuinely grotesque, and infects the rest of the sound across ‘The Bar Is Low’ and ‘Ignorecam’. ‘Love Without Emotion’ is the first instance of King of Jeans-level melody. Without the distraction of their usual quirk the music shimmers under a desert-baked riff and subdued vocals. It’s a rare example of Pissed Jeans playing it straight, and they pull it off.
But the draw of the downward spiral is difficult to resist. ‘I’m A Man’ is a shameless slab of aggressive misogyny. The sticky innuendo of workplace paraphernalia and bodily function is humorous and horrible. ‘You ever been stapled?’ This is either Pissed Jeans at their most self-aware or most misunderstood. Let’s hope they’re joking. Elsewhere, ‘It’s Your Knees’ renews the deviance of King Of Jeans’ ‘Lip Ring’, and ‘Worldwide Marine Asset Financial Analyst’ shifts the tone from their usual wallow to fully fucking furious, if only for a white-hot minute.
Why Love Now reeks of the usual defeat that Pissed Jeans do so well, but resists the urge to turn into an all-out bummer. This isn’t hopelessness and woe; this is resignation to the often ugly, occasionally comforting, ever-present press of the world’s pimply underbelly on your cheek. Sonically suffocating and delightfully colourful in its dredging of life’s mundanity, rock-bottom has Pissed Jeans sounding on-top.