Junior Battles - Junior Battles [7 inch] (Cover Artwork)

Junior Battles

Junior Battles [7 inch] (2010)

Square Up

I recently found myself browsing Dave Garwacke's marvelous ifyoumakeit.com, hoping to find something new, exciting or generally less boring than the stream of White Crosses I managed to obtain a few days prior. I searched feverishly through the "Free Albums" section, listening to samples of a few decent bands here and there. I was left with a general feeling of "meh." Having not previously heard of Junior Battles, I clicked on the album cover (a white, "rapist" van in a parking lot with some good ol' fashioned Photoshop wear n' tear for good measure). The sample song "Basements" caught my attention immediately. Maybe I'm a sucker for catchy riffs and simple, heartfelt lyrics, but I immediately decided downloading the album (fo free!) would be to my benefit. Turned out to be the best decision I made that night. On a side note: Never EVER drink a "mystery cup" of anything, and never trust anyone who offers you a "mystery drink" after said offer.

Instead of studying for finals, I took a trip to Boston's Harpers Ferry to catch these guys with O Pioneers!!!, We Are the Union and my heroes, Bomb the Music Industry!. I had been listening to Jr. Battles's 7" on and off for about a week, but their live set convinced me to make it a part of my "On-the-go 400andsomething" rotation. They tore shit up for all 20 of us who happened to be up at 2 on a Sunday.

My personal favorite and possible standout on the 7" is "Roads? Where We're Going, We Definitely Need Roads." Read that twice. Its not a direct Back to the Future quote. See what they did there? Anyway. This song fucking rules. Lots of catchiness, great guitar work, great harmonies, fun, inspiring (and yes, heartfelt) lyrics, and plenty of different segments, so you're never bored! What more could you ask for out of pop-punk?

"Update Your Resume" is a bit more jumpy, more accusing, and more angry. Still a great tune, and definitely worth the listen. My least favorite on the album is "Major Label Bidding War," an obvious testament against the music industry and the money and stuff behind it and how, yes, it's all bullshit. The song is still not by any stretch of the imagination bad--it just feels like more of a filler than anything.

The bottom line is, these guys deserve WAY more recognition. They're doing something semi-new, and doing it well. This is what pop-punk should be. Bravo, Jr. Battles. And thank you, Toronto, for giving us some great music in recent years.