Mean Jeans - Nite Vision (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Mean Jeans

Nite Vision (2016)

Fat Wreck Chords

Progress can be a funny thing, especially in a subgenre like pop-punk. On one hand, we want to see bands spread their creative wings, and yet at the same time, seeing a band develop their sound often leads to the cliched "I like their early stuff better" reaction. Mean Jeans is a band that's certainly shown progress from its formative days. From their earliest output to their first LP, Are You Serious?, and then onto the follow up, On Mars, and subsequent 7-inche releases, we've watched as the band has gone from a raw, ragged Ramonescore outfit to one with a more polished power-pop bent. With a new LP, Tight New Dimension, out on April 22 on Fat Wreck Chords, the band has offered up a tease at what we can expect, and the early results fall somewhere in between the band's earlier work and their more recent output.

Title track "Nite Vision" will also appear on the upcoming LP, and tonally speaking, it's a little darker than what we've come to expect from the band. It's certainly the sort of speedy, compact ditty that Mean Jeans usually churns out, but with a slightly gloomy tinge that's a bit of a new wrinkle. The next two tracks, both exclusive to the 7-inch, are a little more in line with the band's previous stuff, and both find a sweet spot between the band's early days and more recent work. They're both tight party jams like the ones that pepper Are You Serious?, but they also have that extra layer of sheen that's more closely associated with On Mars and everything that came after.

What's most interesting about the Nite Vision 7-inch is that it doesn't really fit its own purpose. The songs are good, and hearing new tracks from Mean Jeans is certainly exciting, but as a teaser meant to offer a hint of what to expect on Tight New Dimension it really doesn't succeed. Regardless of the number of times one spins this 7-inch, the question of what the new record sounds like remains. Only time will tell whether the new LP brings progress, stagnation or something in between.