Mean Jeans - Tight New Dimension (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Mean Jeans

Tight New Dimension (2016)

Fat Wreck Chords

So Mean Jeans have hit the big time. And by big time we mean the relative big time of powerhouse label Fat Wreck Chords. Does this mean a change in sound or focus for a band that's made its name throwing back Jager bombs with the best of them? Or does it mean a bigger platform for the same party-centric pop-punk the band cranked out on its two previous, highly enjoyable Dirtnap LPs?

A single spin of the band's first LP for Fat, Tight New Dimension, answers that question without leaving any doubt. This is the same Mean Jeans you've come to know and love. There's no deeper exploration of their emotional side, no added strings or layered instrumentation and no maturation that finds the band outgrowing its party hearty roots -- and that's all for the best. Instead Tight New Dimension stands as a strong batch of catchy, fist-pumping anthems that land somewhere between the straight-ahead pop-punk of the band's first LP, Are You Serious?, and the more polished power-pop of the follow up, On Mars.

The album opens with an immediate shot of energy in the form of "Long Dumb Road," which sounds almost like a chronicle of the band's journey to this point. One could say it's Mean Jeans at their most pensive, but that's still not terribly pensive. The track forms a nice one-two punch with "Nite Vision," an equally speedy but somewhat gloomy follow-up that we've previously heard on the band's first Fat release, a 7-inch put out earlier this year.

The energy from the first few minutes carries through until closer "Are There Beers in Heaven?," and keeping things flowing at that sort of tempo over the course of an entire record is not an easy feat, though it's one that Mean Jeans have accomplished before. Combine that energy with typically sophmoric but clever lyrics and you've got an album that's very much in the Mean Jeans tradition.

While Tight New Dimension, doesn't break any new ground, it's effective in conveying what Mean Jeans have always been about, and that's a good thing, since this record will likely be the starting point for new fans interested in checking out one of Fat's newest additions. In that sense the record's a success, and is certainly worth a listen.