ALBUM REVIEW: ‘There’s Nothing Wrong With Me’ – Major League

”There’s Nothing Wrong With Me’ – Major League
Release Date: November 4th 2014
Record Label: No Sleep Records
Review By: Matt Henson

In February last year, I watched a very energetic yet slightly anxious Major League support Welsh heavyweights Funeral For a Friend. In May of this year I managed to catch them again supporting cult punk favourites I Am The Avalanche, and if I hadn’t have read the bill I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have known I was watching the same band.

It’s been a pretty hectic couple of years for New Jersey’s Major League, with a relentless touring schedule with Mayday Parade and Tonight Alive, and all this is after the amicable departure of vocalist Nick Trask which saw guitarist Brian Joyce step up to take the place of lead vocals.

They released their first full length record, ‘Hard Feelings’ in 2012 which was an impressive début given the fact that the band was going through a pretty recognisable transition period. However, for their sophomore record, ‘There’s Nothing Wrong With Me’, Major League enlisted the help of producer Will Yip to mould the band into it’s current, new identity. Who’s Will Yip you ask? Will Yip is the guy behind some of the greatest albums in the past few years, he’s worked with (take a breath) The Wonder Years, Title Fight, Balance and Composure, Citizen, Man Overboard, I Am The Avalanche, Light Years, Polar Bear Club, Turnover and Tigers Jaw…to name a few.

With that impressive CV, it’s clear that Major League were in safe hands, and the new record definitely addresses its new identity and marks a new phase of the band’s musical evolution. Their EP’s with Trask’s vocals was a very clear cut, genre specific pop punk sound, with catchy melodies and distinctive vocals that wouldn’t be out of place on an All Time Low record. Hard Feelings was a natural progression from this, with remnants of a classically made pop punk album used as a framework to forge a fuller, and more mature sound. Now I’m not too much of a fan using the word mature in this context as it implies that classic pop punk is purely adolescent, however, in terms of growth, ‘There’s Nothing Wrong With Me’ strides over its former self.

Vocalist Brian Joyce explains that the album “as a whole dives into the deepest depths of my person and lays it all out…While recording there were many times where I was self conscious about certain subject matter on the record. It was a very emotional experience to talk about. But ultimately it’s what made the record who it is and gave it the identity we feel we’ve lacked in the past.” And the record certainly assumes its own identity away from their past records. There are elements of the new grunge wave from bands like Basement and Citizen, for example the track “Pillow Talk” draws out the disjointed guitar rhythms with beautiful and whiny melodies behind it.

Their single “Just As I am” also has pangs of angst sewn into it’s grungy overtones. One thing that is definitive is that Joyce has found the sound that best fits his voice, each track seeming soft and sincere, not needing to strain to match their previous high tempo pace. However, they have not forgot their roots, simply picked the fruit from the tree and let it grow in another location, as there are echoes of their old sound dotted around in occasional tracks, “Kaleidoscopes” for instance is a nice pop structured track with a memorable chorus. It’s lyrics seem to be more familiar and simplistic and a break from the brash honesty that is harboured throughout the rest of the tracks. “Montreal” is an acoustic track which shows another side to Joyce’s vocals, showing a little more aggression to what appears to be quite a sensitive subject matter.

As far as progression goes, this album is a great showcase of Major Leagues ability to adapt, change and find a new strength, whereas before they may have become another generic pop punk band trying to keep their head above a very saturated and competitive and critical scene, “There’s Nothing Wrong With Me” may just serve as a lifeboat. You can note traditional pop punk / emo influences like Saves The Day and perhaps Jimmy Eat World, but Major League seemed to have crafted themselves into a genre befitting of their true selves. It’s like they’ve gotten a fake ID to get into a college party, but seem to be accepted by the older guys there who are none the wiser. Stand out tracks like “Little Eyes” show just how far they have come, showing lyrical depth coupled with an engaging and powerful sound. It may not be the album of the year, but this record should make you excited about the future of Major League.