Junior is a Welsh pop-punk band. They come armed with a vital message: be positive and be yourself. Their drummer Si Martin runs the mental health charity Heads Above the Waves. The charity raises awareness of depression and self-harm in young people.
Anxiety has been a huge lyrical topic because mental health problems in young people are increasing. Junior understand this, and their debut album ‘Beautiful Life’ combines fragile vulnerability with massive hooks to create a solid record.
‘Beautiful Life’ takes a nod to the bands’ influences because there are hints of Blink-182 and A Day to Remember. However, Junior use this to their advantage. The album is full of captivating hooks. On ‘Day Of the Dead’, the lyrics are about grief and the loss of a friend. As vocalist Mark Andrews sings “couldn’t cry at the funeral”, the “wooaah-ohs” in the background is a juxtaposition. Despite the bleak topic, the music is very positive. This sets the tone for most of the album. In fact, the choruses, on the whole, are top-notch. ‘Brick By Brick’ is a rager of a song because it shows off the harmonies very well. It’s very fast-paced, and furthermore sounds like the band had a lot of fun recording it. The children’s choir adds to the impact of the crashing drums.
Also, they appear to be present in opening track ‘Girls and Boys’. The track encourages a positive message: “you will not bend and break / you are not your mistake.” It gives the listener goosebumps because the lyrics are relatable and improves their mood. This track transitions perfectly into ‘Playing the Part.’ ‘Playing the Part’ is fun and upbeat. It is well-crafted songwriting and the whole band seem to gel together which is very exciting.
‘Beautiful Life’ is a record with a passionate and positive message. It’s fun to listen to but it might take a few listens to appreciate. However, once you spend time with it, it is a beautiful heartfelt record that will have you singing at the top of your lungs.
Words by Ermis Madikopoulos