From “Bathroom Laughter,” the opening track of Pissed Jeans’ Honeys, it’s clear that frontman Matt Korvette is still fed up with the mundanities of life in the office. An insurance claims adjuster in Allentown, PA, Korvette parodies cubicle interactions with more authenticity than The Office or Office Space. Whether he’s “in the kitchen crying” or “in the hallway screaming,” to Korvette, the only proper response to life’s minutiae is to scream. His exclamations aren’t really those of a grown man in agony, but a scuzzy, gruffly voiced adult imitating a baby. It’s this balance between relatable situations and off-color humor that makes Pissed Jeans’ songs so dynamic.
The hilarious “Cafeteria Food” portrays a man expressing glee that his awful manager has died: “I feel like I’ve won the Super Bowl” and “I feel like I’m not the father” are his sighs of relief. But the daily grind has drained this guy to the point where he doesn’t celebrate by pumping his fist or finally asking out the cute girl in the office, but by going home to fall asleep on his couch. Despite Pissed Jeans’ hardcore punk aesthetic and references to football and fatherhood, Honeys doesn’t only explore masculine anxieties and revenge fantasies. By painting a picture of a man who stupidly tells his lover to pretend he’s someone different instead of actually trying to change on “Romanticize Me,” Korvette sympathizes with the female condition. More explicitly, “Male Gaze” is Korvette’s apology for men who ogle women.
Pissed Jeans have perhaps capitalized on the recent resurgence of “spoken-word humor rock.” Unlike the Modern Lovers-inspired deadpanning of Brooklyn’s Parquet Courts or the catchy but brainless pop-punk anthems of L.A.‘s FIDLAR, Korvette has been joking around since 2004, which has allowed him to refine his storytelling ability. On “Health Plan,” the narrator’s debilitating hypochondria may clash with his quest for upward mobility, but according to Korvette, such problems aren’t worth crying about. Instead, Korvette copes by singing about them. Just because Korvette’s tales aren’t serious, that doesn’t mean they aren’t important. What suits him aren’t the giggles and munchies of being stoned and starving, but the heart palpitations and slow-burning smiles of being an aging man trapped in a cubicle—and in his own head.