Reviews Mean Jeans On Mars

Mean Jeans

On Mars

Whoa, is it 1994 again and someone didn't tell me?

Much in the way Teenage Bottlerocket appropriated the early to mid-‘90s Lookout bands like Screeching Weasel and the Groovie Ghoulies, which were puréeing the Ramones, Beach Boys and macabre cinema, you can't really credit Portland, OR's Mean Jeans for bringing anything new to the pop punk landscape whatsoever. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to find a single ounce of originality anywhere on this record. And oddly enough, it's just that redolent familiarity that makes it so goddamn gratifying. As much as it may bruise my crust-craving ego to admit, I find On Mars to be overwhelmingly adorable. This is punk rock for skater kids, alternateens, and hopeless romantics raised on frozen pizza and gas station nachos, just as much as it for those fending off adulthood; still lurking around the dim corners of fringe society in worn out Chucks and pinned-up hoodies, swilling tall boys of whatever the cheap beer of the moment is, and hipping “the kids” to the days when Danny Panic, B-Face and Danny Vapid were in The Queers instead of, well, whoever is now.

In the lead-off track “Ready 2 Rip” the question is aptly posed, “Are you ready to rip it up?!” And if you weren’t before, you’d best be ready to answer with a decisive YES, as On Mars beats you over the head (and in the heart) with one sing-a-long after another of quirky, youthful anthems. Whether it is seamless transitions between songs or catchy-as-hell hooks and melodies, Mean Jeans prove they are true masters of their craft. “Hangin’ Tuff”—which might trigger repressed memories of flailing around dingy, beer-soaked basements to “the Riverdale Stomp”—easily morphs into “Crummy Crummy”, via that steady acquainted bass line second handed by every snot-faced kid that ever wanted be a Ramone…or was one. (You know the one: it goes dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun…yep, that one.) And then there is the whole “whoa-ohh-oh, whoa-ohh-oh” chorus thing, which can be found on nearly every song. But perhaps most effectively demonstrated on the title track, “Life on Mars” as well as the obligatory school song, “Forever in Mean Jeans.”

If you can’t tell by the album cover—which shows the band flying towards Mars in a spaceship shaped like a Jägermeister bottle, while little macaroni and cheese noodles float by—humor is a key ingredient in the Mean Jeans recipe. “School Lunch Victim” is an amusing little number in which every school child’s favorite foil-pouched “juice drink” is referenced in the chorus—“My mom forgot to pack my lunch/Am I the only one?/Can I poke a second hole in your Capri-Sun?...Capri Sun!” Comparable to how The Kinks implored us to come dancing, on “Come Toobin’” the Mean Jeans invite us to, ahh, come toobin’…because, you know, it’s only natural. And, well, that’s your frame of reference right there.

With On Mars, Mean Jeans aren’t attempting to drag pop punk kicking and screaming into the future, but rather force a beer bong down it's neck and punch it in the gut with a much needed shot of playful wit and amusement.

8.0 / 10Nathan G. O'Brien
Advertisement
KFAI - Roar of the Underground
Leave a comment

Dirtnap

2012

8.0 / 10

8.0 / 10

Share this content
Advertisement
KFAI - Root Of All Evil
Recent reviews

BIG|BRAVE

A Gaze Among Them

8.5 / 10 BIG|BRAVE - A Gaze Among Them album cover

Big | Brave set out on a sonic journey influenced and inspired by diverse forces. For the band, on the one hand there was the elusive pull of their native ...

Evening Standards

World’s End

7.8 / 10 Evening Standards - World’s End album cover

It’s a dramatic understatement to say that music has changed since I first discovered DIY in the 1990s. But in many ways, one of the first things I discovered about ...

BlackDots

Everything Has Gotta Change

9.0 / 10 BlackDots - Everything Has Gotta Change album cover

Some albums just hit you right away. I was vaguely aware of BlackDots – some friends saw them at The Fest last year and said nice things, so I figured ...

Related news

Records New Mean Jeans, "Party Line"

Posted July 1, 2019, 9:02 p.m.

Mean Jeans have unleased a new single called "Party Line" as a teaser of their upcoming new album titled Gigantic Sike. Gigantic Sike features 11 new songs in total and ...

Records Mean Jeans Jingles album

Posted Jan. 20, 2018, 10:41 a.m.

Mean Jeans return with a new album, Jingles Collection, on Feb. 16 on Fat Wreck Chords. As the name implies, each of the record's 23 songs is about a ...

Records Mean Jeans release teaser EP this month

Posted March 9, 2016, 9:24 a.m.

WIth a new full-length scheduled for April release, Mean Jeans and Fat Wreck Chords will drop the Nite Vision EP on March 18 prior to the April 22 release of ...

x

Logo

Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:

Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.