Junior Battles - Rally (Cover Artwork)

Junior Battles

Rally (2014)

Paper + Plastick

Rally, the sophomore follow up to Junior Battles' first full-length Idle Ages is an 11 track story of the band's personal experiences and the lessons they have and are learning every day. A collection of chant-friendly songs, sport mentions and pop-culture references, this indie/pop-punk act has a lot to show for their years of existence through their lyricism and maturing (and even at times symphonic) sound.

The album comes across as a diary of the group's recent experiences as both a band and as individuals in a time in their lives where everything is working out and not at the same time but there's always a way to tie their daily mishaps to some sort of quirky character from a movie or T.V show with their goofy habits and traits.

In the end there's always a story to come of it and songs to be sung.

Take "Three Whole Years" for example. A clear reference to the 3 years between 2011's Idle Ages and 2014's Rally and their experiences during that time with lyrics like "Have you ever felt alone? In a room full of people, with everyone on their phones seeking some validation." I know, it sounds a little over-observant and well, cynical, but maybe they're right? You're at a party and you notice most people aren't even paying attention to each other but glued to their phones- a pretty stark and true reality nowadays when you really think about it.

Another line, "I woke up in the passenger seat, it's too loud and I think we're losing the station, I turn it up you turn it down," most likely refers to their touring experiences and simple disagreements that they (and every band for that matter) go through when out on the road supporting their album and themselves.

Speaking of quirky pop-culture references, you have "Believe it or not, George isn't at Home." This one is from Seinfeld featuring George Costanza's answering machine which had him singing that he's not home and to leave a message. The song starts off with a light, low-distorted guitar riff and well-timed explosive acoustic breakdown before the verse and singing begin. A quick reference to The Wire is also mentioned in the chorus of the song.

TPS Reports, which references Office Space, has another light guitar riff intro with a pretty hard but consistent beating on the drums that carries throughout the song in it's entirety. The chorus makes a hard case about the mindless paperwork that most office job employees are stereotypically subjected to. The tone and overall mood is definitely a louder one and could have potentially been a head banger had the band been a more heavier act as opposed to pop-punk. It's not necessarily a bad thing, just a slight observance.

All being said I'm not saying these guys are cynical and downbeat or anything like that, they look like great guys and like they're having the times of their lives being Junior Battles and writing/performing music. As for "Assholes on Rollerblades," I can honestly say it is the best track on the whole record. It's fun, catchy and simple while bringing to light the ups and downs of life, responsibilities and everything in between- just like the whole album and in effect what makes Junior Battles who they are.