“Request for Masseuse” is one of those creepy but funny-in-an-anti-social-way songs that were a staple of first-generation punk and hardcore. King of Jeans has that spirit throughout, along with cherry-picked influences ranging from Beefheart to Feedtime to Drunks With Guns. Thus, the album is a sloppy mess, a greasy slab of metallic K.O. that keeps it simple but not stupid. Well, maybe a little stupid.
“Human Upskirt” and “Pleasure Race” are also among the band’s best to date. “Spent,” “Dream Smotherer” and “Goodbye (Hair)” while as sludgy and chaotic as the rest, also feature an underrated part of Pissed Jeans’ attack: direct and honest lyrics about the everyday absurdities and challenges. In that regard, they are almost the Minutemen for spastics. Wipe off the ooze of these songs and you find an uneasy group of guys slowly getting older, and wiser than they’d wish.
King of Jeans is an open-handed slap in the mouth, one that stings both lyrically and musically. Producer Alex Newport (Fudgetunnel) brings his understanding of brutal grue (witness the production on that impossibly heavy “Spent”), but at this point, Pissed Jeans know what they’re doing, if not what they want. That restlessness and aggression make King of Jeans a visceral, honest mess of a record. This is all ragged glory.
Pissed Jeans are the only shredding rock band around willing to explore seemingly minor subjects like ice cream and scrapbooking. But on King of Jeans, the band is trying to come to grips with the awkward fit of adulthood, and explore a whole new batch of everyday minutiae. The only way for them to do that on this record was to make their sound a little closer to the bone. No quieter by any stretch, just an even simpler, more raw and searing attack than the band has ever made before. King of Jeans was produced by Alex Newport who, having worked with the likes of At the Drive-In and Sepultera, is no stranger to unwieldy noises. And he and Pissed Jeans have crafted another brash collection of songs about the quotidian. King of Jeans may be their attempt at accepting responsibilities, but don't expect acceptance to sound any less volatile coming from these guys.