On their fifth LP, Philadelphia’s Pissed Jeans cast their holy rage upon the irritating banalities that we face day-to-day. Yet ‘Why Love Now’ truly comes to life when the band uses their punishing sound to explore the absurdity of modern masculinity.
‘I’m a Man’, the album’s centrepiece, features a roaring extended breakdown from the band and a spoken word showcase from author Lindsay Hunter, who drops more than a few cringe-worthy lines on her way to lambasting the beer-swilling, sex-obsessed male chafing against the drudgery of office life. It’s a squirm-inducing listen but one creating an interesting juxtaposition between the worst inclinations of man and the sterilised corporate world; it also somehow manages to be the least subtle moment on a record that doesn’t have any time for subtlety.
The rest of ‘Why Love Now’ is an urgent, hard-driving assault, helmed by singer Matt Korvette. He shines on the surprisingly dance-y single ‘The Bar is Low’, while also delivering the song’s thesis that men are scumbags.
On ‘It’s Your Knees’ he focuses on the natural lack of filter that men often have with regards to women and how they’ve only become more brazen in the Internet age. It’s an important, powerful message, and one that works well when delivered with all the band’s sledgehammer vitriol.
There’s a united sense of purpose on ‘Why Love Now’ that is evident from each member of the band; Sean McGuinness’s drumming is thunderous, Randy Huth’s bass lines are muddy and intense, and Brad Fry’s fretwork is wild and raucous. Each has their individual moments to shine, but all seem united and firmly committed to the common cause of rallying against the kind of masculinity that it seems absurd we still need to oppose in 2017.