Junior Varsity - Wide Eyed

11 songs
41:10 minutes
***** ***


After the release of an EP and a CD on a small label, Wide Eyed is The Junior Varsity's first release for Victory Records, probably America's biggest emo and hardcore label. The Junior Varsity play none of the aforementioned styles, but are a pure power pop punk band with just a tiny touch of emo. After having listened to the eleven songs, you may find yourself saying that you haven't heard a bad song, but the result surely wasn't groundbreaking or sensational. The band's strongest point is singer Asa Dawson who has a very clear pop voice that never gets too high or too hard for that musical genre. The band's funniest point is that the drummer is called Chris Birch, a joke only shared by those familiar with the equally named Luxembourgish rock dinosaur.

A lot of the songs on the album are typical, but well played pop punk tunes like the excellent opener I Get Comfortable, the sing-along track Everyone's Got Something They're Running Out Of and If You Could Paint Your Own Vacation, just to name a few. What's important about the songs is that they contain beautiful harmonies that get reflected in easy to remember choruses. My favourite track is I'm Home, Hooray!, an upbeat song with hypnotic keyboards. Another smasher is If It Hurts You, a slower song with hypnotic electronic sounds. Only the semi-ballads Mad For Medusa and Do You Mind? can't reach the same level as the rest of the album.

The Junior Varsity have done very solid and entertaining work. But there are so many similar bands that making the breakthrough won't be easy. I don't see any reason why the consumer should pick this record instead of the latest Silverstein or Spitalfield?

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