Pissed Jeans Why Love Now? Sub Pop

08 10

Matt Korvette is the crude mouthpiece of the apathetic. Like a punch-drunk Hemingway, the Pissed Jeans frontman grunts and groans confessions of human inadequacies with liberating honesty. His comical, hyper-specific lyricism simmers with scorn, he revels in his own body shame and he curses the prosaic nature of the menial office work that he’s endured for years despite Pissed Jeans’ moderate success.

On Why Love Now? – the Pennsylvania band’s fifth LP – Korvette aims his crosshair at the stupidity of male peacocking. On The Bar Is Low, the record’s first single release, Korvette explicitly outlines how all men may present themselves as noble and chivalrous but ultimately will be exposed for the ‘shitheads’ they really are. “I haven’t climbed up a mountain, barely walked up a hill,” Korvette admits, before conceding that “the speed of evolution is getting slower.” Similarly, I’m A Man, which features Ugly Girls author Lindsay Hunter delivering a truly harrowing monologue of W.B. Mason-inspired erotica, slices open the perverse underbelly of office politics. With anxiety brimming in her voice, she transforms talk on water coolers and stationary items into some depraved love letter. “Hey Office Lady,” she begins, “…I’mma change out this water jug one handed. But first I’mma spill a few drops into your lap and dab them up with this powerful organ in my mouth. And by that I mean my tongue.” It’s a curt depiction of sexism in the 21st century, and a resounding charge against man’s apparent inability to suppress their sexual barbarism.

Like all Pissed Jeans’ records, on Why Love Now? Korvette’s lyrical posturing is underscored by dense distortion and sludgy riffing. Production assistance from no wave legend Lydia Lunch and metal doyen Arthur Rizk (Eternal Champion, Sumerlands, Goat Semen) helps in navigating a record that seems wholly defined by its own misrule. Yet, at times, such as with Worldwide Marine Asset Financial Analyst, the band play with such maniacal ferocity that they sound as if they’re only a single thrum away from total audial disorder. Even the record’s more subdued entries are bizarrely nihilistic. Activia moans along at a defeatist pace while Korvette wails with a deceptively romantic drawl. “I feel you’re stressed/ Oh, I’ve been there too/ Forget the rest of the world, it’s me and you.” It would be almost graceful if it wasn’t so unpleasantly sleazy. However, it’s this paradox of moods that makes this record resonate so powerfully. There’s nothing orthodox about Why Love Now?‘s sound. But there’s something snidely familiar about its portrayal of modern life. It’s angry, it’s sad and it’s laughably relatable.

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