New Jersey pop-punk quartet, Major League, has made a lasting impression with its second full-length album There’s Nothing Wrong With Me (TNWWM), courtesy of No Sleep Records. Not only does a band’s second album come with the pressure of living up to fans’ expectations and then some, but it serves as a point of direction into where the band will find its finalized sound. After vocalist Nick Trask left Major League in January, guitarist Brian Joyce took over vocal duties for the band. While it might have been a risk for the band, Joyce’s vocal ability actually works for the better for two main reasons:
Reason 1: An added element of authenticity
When Major League released its 2012 debut album, Hard Feelings, people were taken on the typical pop-punk vocal tone layered with four-chord guitar patterns and an every now and then gang vocal chant. On TNWWM, we are introduced into the full extent of Joyce’s vocals. His voice comes with an easy, relaxed feel, while incorporating a sense of rawness to it. It not only adds an element of authenticity, but it reminds us that pop-punk is more than just teenage angst.
Reason 2: A structured tone in all of the right places
It’s apparent that Joyce poured his entire soul lyrically into TNWWM, but the way he sings at certain points in every song add to the overall tone of the album. In “Montreal,” Joyce sings, “When the progress I’ve made is packaged with setbacks, recovering junkie I fuck up and relapse, father I’m so sorry if this breaks your heart.” He adds a raspy, more exaggerated tone in voice above a dirty sounding acoustic guitar, giving a feeling we didn’t experience with Major League on Hard Feelings. Even more so, when Joyce sings “I turned my back when you were gone, what’s been happening, how did I let this go on, what came over me?” in the chorus in “Recovery” above strong, aggressive instrumentation shows how much potential the band has to give.
While the record doesn’t start to show potential until we land on the third song “Pillow Talk,” the album keeps building with every forthcoming track as it gets lyrically deeper and aggressively moody. Perhaps one of the biggest highlights on the record is the very last track “Rittenhouse.” While much can be said about the verses and chorus, it’s the song’s outro that leaves listeners with an all out two-minute jamming session reminding people what sparked their interest in the band in the first place.
Major League’s There’s Nothing Wrong With Me is a defining album for the band and is a key indicator of where the band is progressing with its sound. It’s full of inspiration and risk that has paid off for the better.