Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mean Jeans - 'Are You Serious'

Ramones Ramones Mean Jeans Ramones new album Are You Serious Ramones pop punk Ramones. The trio (Ramones!!!) tears through 13 raucous tunes in 25 minutes (’mones), calling to mind bands like Teenage Bottlerocket and Screeching Weasel (by which I mean, the Ramones). With song titles like “Lets Pogo B4 U Gogo” and “Total Creep,” Mean Jeans are keeping Ramones-core alive.

While the Oregon act clearly goes out of its way to recall Joey’s vocals and Dee Dee’s bass lines (and count-offs), there are subtle differences, like guitar solos. “Slime Time” even segues into a totally random electronic slow jam. Closing track “Lets Pogo B4 U Gogo” clocks in at over four minutes in length, although it’s one of only two songs that exceed the 2:30 mark.

OK, OK, so these are small stretches. Are You Serious is a total Rocket to Russia tribute album. But it’s so got-damned fun. Here’s a band that thrashes through their instruments as quickly as possible while still executing stellar vocals. Give me a fast beat and a couple dozen “whoa-oh”s anytime. Songs like “Space Trash” and opener “Born on a Saturday Night” rip and roar to life; they cannot be denied.

Of course, it’s these same points that I triumph that some might loathe. Frontman Billy Jeans really does try to do a Joey Ramone impersonation, so much so that I wonder if I dig this album because it’s catchy, or because it reminds me of one of my favorite bands. The songs aren’t terribly deep – drinking, drugs, comics, and the occasional lady friend are the dominant topics. And, depending on which side of the fun spectrum you fall under, “Lets Pogo B4 U Gogo” is either pandering or deliciously cheesy.

But darn it all, these songs are glorious. “I’m a no brainer,” the band sings on the appropriately titled “No Brainer.” It’s true. With tunes this blistering, joyous, and awesome, I don’t have to think much about throwing on some Mean Jeans.

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