Sludgy, punky noise-makers Pissed Jeans have been churning out their brand of gnarly rock for thirteen years now. On Why Love Now, their fifth album, they focus their lyrical wit on the more humdrum events of modern life such as office supply deliveries along with the more uncomfortable such as fetish webcams. Why Love now was produced by no wave legend Lydia Lunch along with Arthur Rizk from Eternal Champion and Goat Semen.
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Look, I’d love to write something of dazzling insight about this album, but all I can think about is how much I want Tom Waits to front a noise rock band. That rasping, wobbling, gurgling vocal our screaming Pissed Jean is bringing to the table has opened my eyes to Waits’ true calling and that’s largely all I really want to say about ‘Why Love Now’.
But, for the sake of word count obligations and not getting fired, I will also say this is easily Pissed Jeans’ best record, their most introspective and… their most verbose? That’s not necessarily a slight, as the Jean team are here funnelling a lot of thought through their fractures. Talking about sex, loneliness, macho self-destruction, online cams and the pitfalls of becoming a boring person in an office (uh… I’ll repress that last one for later) one after the other, this record starts to flip the switches on what we think of as obscene and what we think of as mundane, eventually mingling everything together into an absurdist portrait of calamitous life.
Produced by ultimate noise-knower Lydia Lunch, Pissed Jeans continually switch up between sludgy, impossible noise (they open the record on a daringly slow and off-putting slab) and thoroughly catchy guitars as on the near-melodic “The Bar Is Low”, which couples a grumbling bass line and a lovely chord sequence into one catchy as shit song. “Ignorecam” sounds like it’s on the cusp of becoming a thick, crusty hardcore song, the kind Cursed started nailing at the end of their career -- it exists on an album of far more divested and properly hooking guitars, though, with the progressions of “Love Without Emotion” reminding me, in their own little way, of Husker Du. The record is playing with you, ultimately, offering these latches of light before running them off the reals with squeaks of feedback and fury.
When it’s unlistenable it’s great and when it’s listenable it’s the very same. Please hire Tom Waits.
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