Junior Battles Rally

Junior Battles Rally
8
Nominally a pop-punk band, Toronto's Junior Battles display a musical world view that extends beyond the confines that of that label. While their lyrics still reflect the trials and tribulations of the stereotypical white, middle-class 20-something, there is a pervasive sense of optimism that many of their aesthetic peers lack. See opener "(You Will Score the Winning) Goal," a self-affirming mantra that reappears both figuratively and literally throughout their sophomore record's 11 songs, as proof.

Sonically, Rally ups the ante with the guitar interplay between singer-guitarists Sam Sutherland and Aaron Zorgel, their chords intercutting one another where they'd previously played in unison. "Believe it Or Not, George Isn't at Home" puts this dichotomy on full display, its gang-vocal chorus recalling Junior Battles' punchy debut while saving the more intricate playing for the verses. Less immediate, but no less rewarding, Rally is yet another collection of sharp, witty tunes with lyrical potency that lives on long after the guitars have faded. (Paper+Plastick)