This isn’t an album that asks you to enjoy it.
Label: Sub Pop
Released: 24th February 2017
‘Why Love Now’ starts with a curdling scream. It’s an appropriately harrowing start Pissed Jeans latest album – an album that throws at its listener pictures of the discomforts of modern life – from office small talk, the failures of masculinity and fetish webcams.
Let it be known: This isn’t an album that asks you to enjoy it. It twists your words and spits them back out at you. It asks you to step back and take a look at it from a distance before deciding the nature of the beast. Lead single ‘The Bar Is Low’, is apparently about how low the men of the world have managed to set the bar for themselves to not be, in the words of Korvette ‘a shithead’. It’s this flawed masculinity that can be seen reflected throughout the album sonically in its guttural snarls, its heavy, gritty trashing guitar lines.
Back in 2013 on their previous album ‘Honeys’, Pissed Jeans took a few moments to sneer at the mundane realities of the working world, and continue this rampage in parts of Why Love Now. ‘Worldwide Marine Asset Financial Analyst’ is an aggressive attack on the sort of time that sees you watch things pass you by, while ‘Have You Ever Been Furniture’ is a fittingly uncomfortable and claustrophobic commentary on the sort job that leaves you feeling cold and chronically unappreciated.
It’s clear that Pissed Jeans are playing this with a vast amount of self-awareness and wry irony, and the content of particular tracks is going to make a few stomachs churn. The middle of the album is broken by ‘I’m a Man’ – a spoken word delivered by the author of Ugly Girls, Lindsay Hunter, depicting a menacing slice of ‘erotic’ office talk that feels like it’s under your skin and pulling at your fingernails. Which is basically the tone of the album.
In a world where the sort of macho seems to be winning elections, this album hits perhaps a little bit too close to home. This is an album that asks you to go beyond it surface level and examine the contrived shittiness of the world outside your headphones. Poppy Waring