Pissed Jeans has never been a band that goes halfway—they’re known for their feral vocals, biting lyrics, buzzsaw guitars, and unhinged live shows, and their sixth album, Half-Divorced is no exception. These songs skewer the tension between youthful optimism and the sobering realities of adulthood, and when viewed through frontman Matt Korvette’s scowl, everything takes on a level of violent absurdity.
Pissed Jeans’ notorious acerbic sense of humor remains sharper than ever as they dismember some of the joys that contemporary adult life has to offer, from helicopter parents to stolen catalytic converters to being $62,000 in debt. On “Seatbelt Alarm Silencer,” Korvette growls, “Call it a death drive but that ain’t fair / Drive implies I’m headed somewhere.”
Korvette, Brad Fry (guitar), Randy Huth (bass), and Sean McGuinness (drums) weren’t in any rush to finish Half-Divorced, which was recorded by Don Godwin at Tonal Park in Takoma Park, Maryland. “We’re not the kind of band that bangs out a new record every two years,” Korvette said. “Pissed Jeans is truly like an art project for us, which is what makes it so fun.” This lack of restraint rages within the songs that unexpectedly veer into classic hardcore punk territory—often coming in at under two minutes long and erupting like the “butane tank explosion” Korvette sings about in “Junktime.”
In the last song, “Moving On,” Korvette sneers, “Cheesing into my camera phone / Pretending that I’m not alone / Life’s the first thing that we all postpone.” One gets the sense that Pissed Jeans refuses to “postpone” life in quite the same way—life, like art, is something that happens now, not later.