Junior Battles- Junior Battles

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I’ve been playing the catch up game lately, as my piles of reviewables seem to have reached an all time high. One record that I’ve been sitting on way too long is Junior Battle’s self titled EP which came out in March of 2010 as a 7”. If you’re as unfamiliar with the group as I was they’re a pop punk band from Canada that has that classic 90’s vibe, meaning they have that fun and bouncy feeling while still having just enough bite to justify the punk tag in pop punk. It’s full of catchy hooks, and if you still have a soft spot for this genre then consider checking it out.

Long time readers probably know that when it comes to this genre, I like the bands that are able to keep the energy and intensity from old school punk in their sound the best. Junior Battles is able to do this quite nicely, as their instrumentals strike an almost perfect balance between raw energy and cheerful melodies. As they move between breakneck paces and slightly slower tempos, the group offers up some infectious lead guitar riffs that are sure to instantly please pop punk fans. But as I mentioned earlier, while Junior Battles is definitely focused on catchy melodies there’s often this rough edge present underneath of these leads. Listen to the opening of songs such as “Major Label Bidding War” and you’ll notice more distorted and rougher edged tones than the genre has seen in a little while and that is part of what makes this release stand out.

These days it seems as though you can’t be in a pop punk bands without contributing to the vocal arrangements in some way, and this is definitely the case with Junior Battles. Every member sings at some point on the record and this often results in some cool vocal harmonies. I’m not going to try and make sense of which member has which pitch, but for the majority of the album the singing is high pitched without being whiny. However, I must mention that the backup vocals on the last track on Side B sounded a bit flat at times and just didn’t have enough energy. It isn’t enough to make the song unlistenable, but there’s just something about this particular vocal style that makes it seem a little out of sync with the others.

Junior Battles isn’t my favorite pop punk act just yet, but they’re one that I could see myself listening to on a regular basis. Their vocal arrangements could use a little bit more fine tuning in some areas, but as a whole they have a sound that has its own nuances. Considering this EP is almost a year old now, I have a feeling that the group has released more material by now so it looks like I have even more catching up to do. There’s a lot of pop punk out there right now, but these guys have my full attention.

http://www.squareuprecords.com/

Full Disclosure: Review copy provided by Beartrap PR

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