Junior Battles – Idle Ages
Release Date: June 28, 2011
Record Label: Paper + Plastick
In a year that has brought hotly anticipated releases from pop-punk heavyweights like The Wonder Years, The Swellers, Set Your Goals, and The Dangerous Summer, it'd be easy to overlook an up and coming band like Junior Battles. Based out of Ontario, Canada, this quartet is on the fast path to becoming one of the major staples of the ever expanding pop-punk scene. After a series of EP's, Junior Battles have unleashed their full length debut, Idle Ages - a reinvigorating pop-punk album that's just the very tip of the band's full potential.
Junior Battles immediately goes for the jugular with the album-defining “Seventeen,” a delicious cut of pop-punk that features gang shouts and swelling guitar riffs. The intense, Take This To Your Grave-esque “Twenty Five” will incite the pit at shows, whereas the one-two punch of “Living in the Future of Feelings/No Plan” and “Passing Out” will serve as the upbeat anthems of Idle Ages.
Musically, Idle Ages influences range from bands like The Get Up Kids to Jawbreaker to peers like Tigers Jaw. The tone and pace of the album changes from track to track. On “Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?,” Damian Abraham (of Fucked Up) contributes some nicely-placed growls in between the driving guitar chords of Sam Sutherland and Aaron Zorgel. The piercing “Birthdayparties vs. Punkroutine” aims to wound while inducing some striking pop-punk rhythms. They mellow out a bit on “With Honours,” which opens with dreamy guitar chords before the somber verses hit, and album closer “Radio” is the type of song you and your closest friends shout along to while sitting on the front porch at two in the morning.
Lyrically, the battle between staying young and growing up runs rampant throughout, as well as wondering why crappy things happen to decent people. The imagery of “Nostalgic at 23” is reminiscent of early Alkaline Trio, while “Send the Pilots Away” peppers its dark lyricism amongst some incredibly catchy hooks, making the track an instant standout.
The single best thing about Idle Ages is that even though the group switches up their styles on many tracks, the album never loses that sincere angst and never misses a beat with their energy. The duel vocal attack courtesy of Sutherland and Zorgel creates a chemistry that most of their peers will never approach. Idle Ages will generate numerous emotions and memories, as Junior Battles have created an album that reminds you of why you loved this genre so much in the first place.