Having been long out of print on vinyl for a number of years, it was only a matter of time before Pissed Jeans’ 2005 punk classic debut LP 'Shallow' got the reissue treatment. Known for its sheer, beautiful discordance, and initially the record that won over Sub Pop, the reissue also includes the addition of their 2004 single ‘Throbbing Organ’, with the vinyl format including it as a bonus 7” and the CD format including a download code for the song.
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I didn't quite know what to make of Pissed Jeans at first. Too many ravaged, down-tuned hooks and semi-collapsing songs with an Iggy/David Yow crossbreed stomping up and down the stage shouting like a baby bear that's just discovered the fury of nettles then gone and eaten them out of further demented curiosity. Except his mic was broken. He didn't care. "Yeah, I seen this shit before..." I wrongly sneered. Around the time of 'Hope For Men' (an excellent album title I'm sure you'll agree) I happenstanced upon this pub attic show by our beloved sordidly-monikered American scruffs and had what may be one of the most mental and enjoyable evenings out at a gig, ever. My initial impression was so different to my concluding one that I felt mentally ill. There was blood and tons of broken glass on the floor come lights up. I stood there in terrified wonder, staring at the debris, thinking "People have walked away happy from this, I know they have. But everything's wrecked!"
I may have told that story before. But it's a good one! There's an epic durability to that tale that sums up Pissed Jeans. I got a souvenir that night. I am nearly 42 but I'll still wear my rusted badge with pride. That's not a euphemism. I was at a really wet festival and it got ruined. 'Shallow' is their old first album which, in punk circles, was becoming a bit of a rare bird. The cover art's shit, proper 16 year old sun-baked nihilist baz. The music, it's half-way to their prime caustic stoner slop but a bit juvenile in the snottiest way too. In short it's fun to the freakin' max.
'Boring Girls' is the first tune where you realise that you're dealing with some seriously talented and funny nobheads here. If it wasn't so full of both obvious playful affection and primal psychotic intent it could be Alice Donut daft. PJs are a house party band here but a dangerous one who kick out an old filthy, scratchy basement-punk subtly laced with this kinda dark, dingy raw psychedelia that provides some weird form of mental exorcism. To channel the energy of Black Sabbath, Stooges, Mudhoney, Buttholes, Scratch Acid and Kyuss with nary a raised eyebrow, and so fucking well, is utterly commendable. The way they kinda let it get slightly sloppy without losing a grain of intensity is perhaps more stunning.
There's possibly folk who think they've gone a little soft around the middle a few albums in. But no, they still kick it. I saw 'em live last year. It's about the humour ("I Broke My Own Heart" on here is proper hilarious). Their driving-whilst-near-collapse sound and relentless dirty abandon I love. They've maintained their wild ethos from day one! Debut 'Shallow' paves the way yo. This isn't serious shit. Yet they're the most genuinely formidable band on Sub-Pop to this day. Matt Korvette, you now have one of many reviews for this mad beast you helped create.
8/10 Vinyl G Customer review, 8th December 2014
Reissued and remastered version of Pennsylvania noise-punks Pissed Jeans' previously rare 2005 debut. While the songs are, with the exception of Boring Girls, nowhere near as anthemic as those on the band's last album, Honeys, there is still a lot of enjoyment to be had in this eight-song selection. Original drummer Tim Wynarczuk proves himself to be easily the equal, if not the superior of, his replacement, Sean McGuinness (especially with his barnstorming solo that closes Closet Marine). However, Dave Rosenstraus' bass doesn't have the same guttural, sink-unclogging quality that Randy Huth's has on subsequent albums. Bradley Fry's treble-heavy guitars and Matt Korvette's screeching vocals are already much in evidence. Dan McKinney's production lends the songs a reverb-y, echo-y quality that is missing from the band's later, tighter sounding material with Alex Newport. On the whole, this is a strong set of songs, the new master of which has done nothing to diminish their vitality. On a side note: at the time of writing, the album came free with a reissue of the band's debut single, Throbbing Organ, which is also highly recommended.
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