O Pioneers!!! / Junior Battles - Split [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

O Pioneers!!! / Junior Battles

Split [7-inch] (2010)

Kiss of Death

As any dedicated punk nerd knows by now, O Pioneers!!! ambassador Eric Solomon encountered another major lineup change over the last year or so, having now enlisted Toronto pop-punks Junior Battles as his backing band. What better way to introduce both OP!!!'s newest incarnation and a bright young ensemble of Canadian punks than with a split 7" single?

If you enjoyed the direction Solomon was taking with last year's excellent Neon Creeps, there's no doubt "Hey! That's My Blood" will get your own, uh, you know, pumping. It starts off chugging like a more straightforward version of Smoke or Fire's "Sunday Pints," and offers Solomon observing the effect of "your fingertips and fingernails" through a solid central hook. The backing harmonies provided by JB members are certainly smoother than what OP!!! fans might be accustomed to, but isn't that where things have been heading, anyway?

Even with O Pioneers!!! taking a continual path into softer territory, Junior Battles feel way less gravelly with "Passing Out." They also extend things by another minute and change, and their lead vocalist still bizarrely sounds like ex-Fall Out Boy frontman Patrick Stump. But they proceed in a brash manner with a couple squiggly guitar lines and a vague sort of folk-punk vibe that gives it the edge it needs to complete the 7" well-roundedly. And the overall extension of time doesn't feel too wasted, only allowing the track to max out its anthemic possibility.

O Pioneers!!! - Hey! That's My Blood
Junior Battles - Passing Out