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The replacement of a singer gives an up and coming record a lot of hype, but also a barrage of expectations. Major League’s ‘There’s Nothing Wrong With Me’ lives up to the hype, but not in the same way that their last effort ‘Hard Feelings’ did. Rather than simply meeting expectations (i.e. ‘Hard Feelings’ 2.0), they exceed them – ‘There’s Nothing Wrong With Me’ is dynamic, dark, and it functions to bring Major League out of the juniors and onto the A grade pitch.
The record kicks off with ‘Wallflower’, which has catchy hooks but also a bridge that embeds the sort of lyrics you can imagine yourself singing along to in a room of sweaty people. Undeniably, this album is jam packed with repetition, which becomes frustrating at some points but also contributes to the many live sing-alongs it has the potential to deliver. Stronger songs like ‘Graves’ showcase a new side to Major League, which is darker, angsty and loud.
The power of intense lyrics and thundering guitar leads is not lost on more generic sounding songs like ‘Pillow Talk’ and ‘Kaleidoscopes’. They bring less of an impact, but play with riffs and time changes intriguingly enough to hold your interest. Something extremely distinctive about this LP is Joyce’s voice –his strains have an edge, which adds to the record’s sincerity, particularly coupled with guitarist Chila‘s backing. Unfortunately, the appeal of the grit that Joyce brings to the table is woven in and out of a more typical delivery.
Like ‘Graves’, ‘Just As I Am’ is also surprisingly dark. Joyce’s mellow tone is disconcerting, not calming, and the lyrics heavily touch on concerns like family and Jesus Christ. This all works in Major League’s favour, propping the song up as a stand out on the record. ‘Montreal’ has been hanging around for a while now, and the fact that Major League have decided to slot an acoustic track into the middle of a full length is an interesting choice. But it also speaks for what the album is: tumultuous, torn between loud and soft.
The rest of the full-length brings the same dynamism, as ‘Little Eyes’, ‘Recovery’ and ‘Devil’s Advocate’ switch between amplification and toned down volume. ‘Bruiser’ is a good song, but the guitar chords just feel repetitive. The record is, however, closed powerfully with ‘Rittenhouse’, which builds tension, rather than interchanging dynamics.
The thing about this record is that we’re not sure what Major League are doing. It seems that the band is still trying to find a definitive sound, toying with emotional vocals and unbroken ones, loud guitars and more pertinent drums, lighter subjects like relationships and heavier ones like religion. But that’s okay. The ambivalence of ‘There’s Nothing Wrong With Me’ doesn’t take away from the fact that it is enjoyable, and it opens up a realm of possibilities. Even more importantly, it’s a revelation that despite a line up change that could call into question the prospective success of a band, Major League have a promising future with Joyce on vocals.
3. Pillow Talk
5. Just As I Am
7. Little Eyes
9. Devil’s Advocate