By Jonathan Markley
For me, the label “pop punk” got real tired and worn out, mostly because the genre just got saddled with way too many shitty mall punk bands. But I’m a punk rocker at heart and when a band like Mean Jeans makes punk sound as fresh as it did back when the first couple of Descendents LPs hit the record stores, you just can’t go wrong. Mean Jeans’ new LP On Mars is just about to make everyone feel young again.
Songs like “Hangin’ Tuff” and “Ready 2 Rip” are party punk anthems that bounce down that gloriously catchy path that the Ramones first tread. Mean Jeans up the ante by adding a dirty bubblegum garage veneer to their mischievous punk vibe. The discerning listener in me may think the three chord punk on the new LP sounds a bit derivative, but when played this passionately and when the songs get stuck in your head so long, fuck the critical side of my brain. Just play “Don’t Stop Partying” and pour another round for the friends at your place.
Music doesn’t always have to strive for lofty artistic ideals. Mean Jeans is sloppy rock ‘n’ roll at its most primal core. Anyone who’s seen them live knows it’s about the hazy late night memories you hold onto long after the hangover is gone. On Mars captures that manic energy of their live shows, and it’s near perfect despite its imperfections. Several songs slow down the pace of the album and seem a bit half thought out. I could do without “2 Twisted 2 Luv U” and “Mean Jeans Forever”, but I can’t fault them for actually releasing an LP over thirty minutes.
Fans of Dirtnap’s catalog and especially the snotty punk scene in Texas ought to take note. Means Jeans rip out the punk jams just as hard as the Marked Men, the Riverboat Gamblers and Steve Adamyk Band. Listen to “Hangin’ Tuff” and “Ready 2 Rip” below, and go buy On Mars from Dirtnap Records.