Pissed Jeans

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Shallow Review

by Gregory Heaney

Originally released in 2005, Shallow, the opening salvo from the Allentown, Pennsylvania noise rock outfit Pissed Jeans, paints a picture of a band operating on a potent mix of frustration, angst, and loathing (self and otherwise). Even from their earliest moments, the band deliver songs that feel like cathartic, adult temper tantrums, with singer Matt Korvette lashing out at the mundane world with tortured vocals that make David Yow seem downright pleasant. Kicking off with ″I′m Sick,″ which opens with blasts of feedback and muscular guitars punctuated by Korvette′s howls of ″I′m sick, I have a headache,″ the album immediately begins to capture the regressive state we all go into in the face of something as common as a cold. While this is a feeling that most of us have probably experienced, what makes Pissed Jeans so magical is their willingness to take selfish, self-centered reactions to simple problems to a place that exists beyond all reason, giving the listener the opportunity to truly wallow in their misery. Although the album isn't the band's strongest work, it shows that, even from the outset, Pissed Jeans have been hell-bent on prodding people to go to a place they've been trained to avoid their entire lives. Though the band would grow to be stronger songwriters later in their career, Shallow is still an immensely satisfying listen that offers a kind of solipsistic, self-involved catharsis that can only come from the pairing of petty grievances and raw, Albini-esque production.

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