Since the release of their ‘Juniorland’ EP back in 2015, Welsh trio Junior have been hard at work on its follow-up, and finally the pop-punk upstarts are back with their debut album, ‘Beautiful Life’.
Opener ‘Boys And Girls’ is a unique way to introduce the record; a choir of children start the song before the instruments well and truly break the peace. The track has a real anthem presence about it, and it’s obvious that this will be the perfect opening to any live show.
Although Junior slot themselves into the pop-punk genre, there’s something that sets them apart as they deviate from the quintessential characteristics. The band appear to have really matured their sound from previous releases, and, rather than light-hearted love songs, there’s a raw, heavier vibe that’s being pumped throughout the record.
Nestled in the middle of the album is a surprising little number, ‘P.Y.D.’. It’s short and sweet at just under two minutes, but it’s the perfect little nod to bassist Mark Andrews and his career in the WWE. The lyrics shape a perfect motivational pep talk to anyone who is struggling to get where they want to be, “Shape the mindset in your territory / Take every moment, every opportunity.”, and it ensure that it’s a track that leave a lasting impression.
There’s an array of melodies and beats throughout that feel familiar of bands who’ve proved exactly what works over the last couple of decades, notably with ‘Day Of The Dead’ containing some of that early Green Day nostalgia, whilst the guitar riffs in ‘Dramatic’ ooze that classic 2000s Blink-182.
The title-track is sure enough one of the standouts on offer – a delicate piano number which is full of emotion and showcases Matt Attard‘s vocals at their finest. Although at first it seems unusually positioned as the penultimate track, after a few listens you’ll start to realise that each song has been meticulously placed to create an almost show-like feel, and this song suddenly fits perfectly in place.
For a debut album, it’s evident that this is a labour of love, and it’s always great to see a band mature with their sound. Yet, most importantly, ‘Beautiful Life’ is 45 minutes of positive messages shared at a time when society needs that more than ever.