Since the start of the year, there have been some notable changes in the Major League camp. In January, frontman for the band Nick Trask officially left to be replaced on vocals by already existing member Brian Joyce. Alongside the changing of the band’s line-up, Major League’s sound has shifted as well. Moving away from their pop punk rooted style, the band have undergone a change in sound differing towards the more alternative side of the pop punk spectrum, venturing into the “soft grunge” territory.
Drifting through the album, the majority of songs are coated with mid-tempo riffs and haunting vocals, ranging from the more dissonant alternative genres. Tracks such as ‘Just As I Am’ and ‘Wallflower’ display this well, as the former shows off the bands softer, edgier side, while the latter leans towards a more radio-friendly rock sound which still carries a heavier, grungy tone. Accompanying that sound throughout ‘There’s Nothing Wrong With Me’, is the rather downbeat lyricism. As Joyce and co. range from a variety of lyrical topics, such as addiction to solitude, the darker parts of the album truly unfold to the listener.
‘Montreal’ conveys this perfectly, as it shows off one the only redeeming factors on ‘There’s Nothing Wrong With Me’. A rather raw acoustic track, Joyce passionately sings this confession turned apology, addressed to the people he cares about, ending the majority of the verses with “I’m sorry ‘…’ if this breaks your heart”. This is perhaps one the most interesting moments on the album, as it really differs from the majority of ‘There’s Nothing Wrong With Me’, in which it’s just swamped in repetitive gloominess.
Not that their previous sound is totally abandoned ‘Kaleidoscopes’ showcases the style of Major League’s older records, with the song echoing traces of the bands poppier side. Yet songs like these are in the minority, as the record is dominated by the aforementioned change of sound. That being said however, rather than falling into the grungy abyss of gloom, ‘There’s Nothing Wrong With Me’ tries to claw its way back out from the bottom with penultimate track, ‘Bruiser’. Titled appropriately, full of loud “in your face” percussion and an up-tempo rhythm, ‘Bruiser’ packs a riff-heavy punch to the ears, in which I can only assume is a sordid attempt to wake up the listener right before final track, ‘Rittenhouse’. Which sadly serves as nothing more than an underwhelming finish to the album.
But perhaps I’m being too harsh. ‘There’s Nothing Wrong With Me’ isn’t necessarily a bad album, it’s just that Major League haven’t added anything original to their new sound. Upon listening, possible influences such as Title Fight and Balance & Composure, as well as the bands that influenced them, seep into the record. But it doesn’t go beyond that. Too many of the tracks just sound too similar and uninteresting to make an impact. It is due credit that Major League,/b> have attempted to further advance their sound. Yet the band has failed to add their own signature style to ‘There’s Nothing Wrong With Me’ to make it interesting, leaving an album filled with nothing but borrowed, repetitive sounds. Which ultimately, fails to make any sort of lasting impression.
As a result, while Major League have tried to move forward by further progressing their sound, they’ve ultimately ended up taking a step backwards. It’s commendable to the band that rather than sticking with the more formulaic pop punk, they’ve tried to do something different. However, they’ve achieved nothing more than creating an album that sounds like a clone of many other bands attempting to create the same style. Which inevitably raises the question, why would I listen to this album when other bands do it better?
‘There’s Nothing Wrong With Me’ by Major League is out now on No Sleep Records.
Words by Harry Miller (@HarrryMiller)