Allentown, Pennsylvania, was once known as one of the foregrounds of American industrial manufacturing, especially in the silk and textile markets, not to mention Mack Trucks. But while they closed many of the factories down, as Billy Joel once fastidiously proclaimed in his ode to the blue collar metropolis on 1982’s The Nylon Curtain, the spirit of the town’s metal-on-metal spirit lives large in the DNA of their local sons Pissed Jeans, who may have since relocated to more contemporary digs in Philadelphia but hasn’t lost an ounce of the post-hardcore edge they’ve branded into their creative psyche since 2005.
And with Honeys, they deliver their most definitive statement of intent yet. Once again working with Grammy-nominated At the Drive-In producer Alex Newport, the Jeans’ third title for Sub Pop and fourth overall finds the group more focused than ever before, eschewing the unbridled chaos of their earlier works in favor of a more concentrated sense of fury, bringing in the more melodic aspects of their favorite Black Flag and Bastro records. And as songs like “Bathroom Laughter”, “Loubs” and “Health Plan” indicate, reigning in the menacing noise reveals their depth as proper songwriters in their own right. Honeys is by far and away the best Pissed Jeans album yet. Needless to say, indie punk just got a lot more interesting.