With their forthcoming ‘Juniorland’ mini-album, South Wales trio Junior abandon the typical pop punk characteristics of girls, skateboards and pizza, in favour of a more thought out conception that takes it cues from broken homes and an aesthetic inspired from 1950s American suburbia. Nevertheless Junior are a pop punk band at the core. Songs like ‘Maria’ and ‘Anywhere But Here’ shine with their summery, guitar-driven hooks, whilst the duel vocal work of Matt Attard and Mark Andrews (of TNA Wrestling fame and UK indy wrestling star) brings about an expected Blink-182 comparison.
To get bit more of an insight into what has inspired Junior, Matt, Mark and drummer Si Martin picked out 5 records* that have inspired them along the way.
Brand New – Your Favourite Weapon
Mark: It’s so easy to listen to this album in it’s entirety. Each song fits the theme of the album and the era of the band. It’s as angsty as it gets, whilst still being super poppy and catchy.
As we have two lead singers in Junior, the use of layered vocals on this album were a big influence for us. ‘Seventy times 7’ is a standout track on the album for me, as it has so many hooks and different sections in the song that show the different dynamics of the band.
Bright Eyes – I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning
Si: This is perhaps a bit of a curveball, cuz it’s a real mellow acoustic/folk record but it’s easily one of my favourites of all time. Conor Oberst has this really nicely honed songwriting ability and a beautiful way with words. It’s storytelling through music, really – which is something that hugely inspired me as a songwriter. ‘Poison Oak’ is probably the standout track for me. Y’know when you don’t relate to the lyrics of a song so much as the feel of it? I get that with ‘Poison Oak’, It’s just beautiful. It’s the sort of record you wanna listen to in a New York coffee shop while reading a paper on a chilly autumn day.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 Soundtrack
Si: Can we cheat a little bit? It’s not technically an album but the soundtrack to the ‘Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater’ games turned me on to so much punk, rock and even hip hop music. Pro Skater 2 was the real one that did it for me though – it’s how I found bands like Rage Against The Machine; ‘Guerilla Radio’ is still my favourite Rage track. Lagwagon – ‘May 16’ was on THPS2 and that’s a big punk song that I still love, same with Millencolin – ‘No Cigar’. It was playing these games for hours and hours that led me to find more music by all these bands and broadened my musical horizons. Otherwise I’d probably still be sat listening to nu-metal.
Biffy Clyro – Puzzle
Matt: I remember the first time I heard this album. I was 15 years old, and my dad had bought it as a recommendation from one of my cousins. We were waiting in the airport on a flight ready to go to New York on holiday and I listened to it on his ipod. It changed everything for me. The choruses were massive, the musicianship was top notch and the lyrics were cryptic enough to be interpreted in your own way, which was an amazing new thing for me. It shaped the way I write songs today, and set a standard of what rock songs should be in my mind. It stuck with me then, and now the artwork is tattooed on my rib.
Blink-182 – Self-Titled
Matt: It’s almost become too much of a cliché to note blink as an influence in the pop punk scene. The appeal is obvious, big choruses, fast drums and songs about breaking up with girls. But what made blink so special to us was their evolution, and the self titled album is the best example of it. They experimented with different ideas, sounds and genres but still maintained anthems that could easily fill stadiums. Every single track is a potential single, and it opened so many doors to a genre which could of potentially gone stale. This had a big effect on ‘Juniorland’ and made us more open to experimentation, which shaped the sound in a big way.
*Correction: 4 albums and 1 video game soundtrack. Great choices nevertheless.
‘JuniorLand’ by Junior is released on October 16th on Ambition Records.