Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pissed Jeans - Honeys

With every grunt, scream and “Oooh!” that Pissed Jeans’ mouth Matt Korvette musters, you’d think that America just announced intentions at another military escalation or some other sort of national calamity to warrant such guttural intensity.

But no, Korvette’s frenzy is merely the result of a more immediate concern: the person having a very vocal meltdown right in front of him. It started in the kitchen, but by the time he’s desperately tried to remove himself from the situation, it’s stumbled outside of the apartment. “You’re in the hallway screaming,” he barks, continuing, “In the hallway screaming/People try to get by/But you’re screaming!”

It’s just another domestic situation, but Pissed Jeans manage to turn the entire event into two and a half minutes of compelling punk rock, echoing the ferocity of their obvious influences while making a strong case to anyone stuck in yesterday’s hardcore crater that the genre is doing quite well without your wrinkled ass getting in the way at the all-ages shows.

Not that the members of Pissed Jeans are spring chickens, and never mind that their fourth long player took four years to make-a lifetime in punk rock circles. Honeys demonstrates that the band have been dutifully sharpening their chops, using moments of their mundane existence as fodder for strong song ideas.

Honeys is a blessing for the rest of us too caught up with mortgages and health care for the family to be brave enough to say the things that we’re really thinking about in our cubicles.

What does Pissed Jeans suggest when it comes to health care?

“Stay away from doctors.”

There are more moments of sage advise throughout the record, as well as poignant observations of our moronic co-workers and others who filter in and around our everyday existence. In fact, “Cafeteria Food” has become my day job mantra, thanks to the following opening lines:

“Hey there project manager
I saw you eatin cafeteria food
So you wanna call that a ‘healthy choice’
Well I’d argue that isn’t true
Stick figure family on the back of your car
You know I find that to be rude
Walkin’ around like you own the place
You must think you’re some kind of dude.”

For anyone that shares a curious hatred for those stick figure emblems and retarded project managers, behold your new favorite song. And, spoiler alert: the project manager dies, making Korvette feel like he found out he just received another floating holiday.

Honeys may be punk rock’s most detailed sledgehammer of an album since the Jesus Lizard’s Liar, and it shares many of that landmark document’s hidden brilliance.

For one, guitarist Bradley Fry seems to have studied hard at the feet of both Duane Denison and Greg Ginn, blending both influences into his own style. It’s his success that elevates Honeys beyond what a punk rock record needs to achieve to become a decent document. Fry’s performance, a very knowledgeable blend of homage, catchiness and experimentation, places the band itself into a higher elevation.

It’s from that mountain of angry tones and breakneck tempos where Honeys descends upon the American worker bee design and becomes probably the most honest record you’ll hear all year long while making Monday morning tolerable in the process.

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