"Red Album? What Red Album?"
I don’t know about you, dear readers, but at the time of writing I’m getting rather tired of the cold and the snow that winter brings. It’s at times like these that you need something fun and fluffy to help you look forward to the warming rays of the summer sun. All this is why I was so glad to have Junior Achiever’s debut “All The Little Letdowns” drop onto my review pile.
Canadian based Junior Achiever don’t like to be labelled pop-punk, instead preferring the title ‘After-School-Special-Core’ of their own invention. While it is always nice when a band saves me from having to come up with a label for them, but it’s a lot easier to just think of them as pop-punk or power-pop, it describes them well enough. Simple lines, happy tone, few chord changes, occasional heartfelt quiet moments, fast drums, sounds like pop-punk to me. One way to look at pop punk bands is to see how they stack up against all the rest of the multitude out there. Junior Achiever are kind of like Blink 182 mixed with Weezer, except without the teenage humour, and with the inclusion of *shock horror* occasional swearwords!
One thing that’s easy to take from this is that they are pretty harmless. Even their occasional naughty words feel like a kid trying them out for effect, rather than being backed up by any malice. All if the album is reminiscent of other popular songs, but not quite enough to make you feel like you’ve heard it before, which is a reasonably happy position to be in as a part of the genre, especially for a debut release. After all, they’ve always got time to grow. Still, as I said before, it all sounds very much like what has come before it. The song “Better Than This” almost feels like a tribute to “Swing, Swing” by All American Rejects, “Dumb It Down” reeks of Blink 182’s “Stay Together For The Kids” and so on. Not that this is really that bad, if you like those songs you’ll probably like these, but they aren’t really adding anything new to the genre.
“All The Little Letdowns” isn’t really a letdown itself, but that’s only because I went into it expecting harmless pop punk, and that’s exactly what I got. It seems to stride a slightly awkward middle ground, however. If pop-punk isn’t your genre, Junior Achiever aren’t going to change your mind, at least not with this release. Sadly, on the other hand, if you are already a fan of the movement, “All The Little Letdowns” doesn’t have anything new to offer you. It’s a perfectly fine listen, but it’s just nothing game changing. Though if you have the money spare, and you want something to get you ready for when the sun finally does appear, then you could do a hell of a lot worse than “All The Little Letdowns”
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