Therapeutic may not be the appropriate word, but the innately intense release that comes with listening to Pennsylvania-based sludge rockers, Pissed Jeans, is undeniable. Matt Korvette’s guttural vocals strike a primal chord while distorted guitars saw into monotonous drums on their new album. Absurd yet relatable song themes characterize, Why Love Now via Sub Pop, the quartet’s fifth effort in five years. While anarchy reigns across the album, the brilliant humor and satire found within its core is almost surgical in its deconstruction of 21st century norms, leaving a fresh film of punk DNA and ideology in its wake.
The ugly side of the mundane has always been a favorite theme of Pissed Jeans songs, and that continues on Why Love Now with workplace sexism, webcam sites, and the careerist void. The album begins in shocking fashion with “Waiting On My Horrible Warning” where Korvette’s grunts sound like a Pete Steele and Henry Rollins lovechild in pain. The up-beat grinder “The Bar Is Low” exposes all guys as sexual deviants and creeps, while “Ignorecam” delves into online fetish themes.
The album’s epoch comes with “Love Without Emotion” which allows the band’s 90’s grunge roots to flourish in all their melodic glory while calloused lyrics waxing on themes like, deadened love, bring context. A shocking interlude comes with “I’m A Man”, a spoken word monologue by author Lindsay Hunter that unfurls some of the most clever and visceral prose of curdling masculinity that will have you listening over and over.
“It’s Your Knees” hammers hard metal riffs while Korvette sings about men’s pedantic judgments of women’s desirability. Korvette is a master of navigating serious social issues with a heaping dose of humor and wit. A song like “Worldwide Marine Asset Financial Analyst” springs straight from the vein of punk rock in its anti-materialist themes and rejection of the status quo.
While Pissed Jeans won’t be finding itself headlining Coachella or gracing Top 40 airwaves anytime soon, they strike a chord with the somewhat jaded listeners who are tired of the hackneyed and played-out rock themes. Pissed Jeans asks its listeners to start asking questions and simultaneously laugh at themselves while enjoying their music. Why Love Now is a comprehensive experience of enjoying music from different perspectives while being titillated by Pissed Jeans’ shock value.