Album Review: Mean Jeans – ‘Blasted’

On their seveth album the Portland pop-punks remain deliberately dumb and definitely catchy.

Sounding like they’ve hooked themselves up to the mains, Mean Jeans have come to hotwire our hearts with another dose of primo pop punk.

The Portland trio of Junior Jeans, Billy Jeans and Jeans Wilder have an electrical way about them and – unlike some veterans of the genre – show no signs of slowing down on their seventh album ‘Blasted’.

Formed 15 years ago, the band packs exactly that many songs into little more than half an hour, with only the relatively extravagant final track ‘Pop Punk Casualty’ stepping over the three-minute mark.

The song is also one of a handful on the record that serve as meditations on the nature of punk and the lifestyle Messrs Jeans and Wilder have chosen. ‘Look What Punk’s Done to You’ also offers up some choice thoughts in that vein, training their gaze inwards for sure, but also taking a cheeky nod to the ‘X-Files’ cameo by Rancid’s Tim Armstrong.

Meanwhile, ‘Lost My Mind’ centres on a dream vision that the band’s bass player was a courtroom TV judge, a-la Judge Judy.

No longer quite as in thrall to the sound of the Ramones as they used to be, Mean Jeans continue to channel the spirit of New York’s pop punk originators with their fuel-injected tunes.

There’s the radioactive rock n roll high school of ‘Something’s Going On’, presumably the only song that’s ever been written about the cult 1986 comedy horror b-movie ‘Class Of Nuke ’Em High’.

Self-styled ‘under-thinkers anthem’ ‘I Don’t Give a Shit’ deals with what happens when records, clothes and even your phone (!) don’t mean anything anymore. But a more hyperactive hymn to ennui you’d be hard pressed to find.

And there’s little of the out-and-out goofyness of 2018’s ‘Jingles Collection’ of beer, burger and Best Western adverts. However, they’re still the same band whose ramshackle debut single, ‘Stoned 2 the Bone’, came out on Rehab records.

So the lyrical references also extend to Mike Schank’s PCP overdose story in the 1999 film ‘American Movie’, ‘Taco Bell Parking Lot’ romanticises some questionable life choices and the overindulgence of ‘Took Too Much’ has too many “oohs” for you to stay mad at it for long.

Produced and engineered by the band themselves at Portland’s Trash Treasury studio, ‘Blasted’ is deliberately dumb and definitely catchy as Mean Jeans prove that growing up doesn’t actually mean growing up, or slowing down.

‘Blasted’ is out now on Fat Wreck Chords

Mean Jeans album Blasted

1. I Don’t Give a Shit Anymore
2. Let’s Go
3. Diagnosis
4. Lost My Mind
5. Blasted to the Moon
6. Something’s Going On
7. Reggie
8. Taco Bell Parking Lot
9. Look What Punk’s Done to You
10. Slugs
11. Break up With You
12. Took Too Much
13. I Don’t Know What I Did Last Summer
14. Living Large on a Credit Card
15. Pop Punk Casualty

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