The Junior League – Also Rans (2015)

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For the past several years, Joe Adragna has been making music as the Junior League. Based in New Orleans, the singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer regularly recruits select musician pals to submit their talents to the sessions. For Also Rans, the Junior League’s latest album, special guests include Scott McCaughey, Jay Ferguson, Boz Boorer and J. Murphy.

A stimulating listen from pillar to post, Also Rans (available via Kool Kat Musik) reins in as a power-popping prize, fringed with roots-rock instincts. Assured vocals, blooming with lucidity, conduct the show — while the songs are sharply-constructed and executed with expression and enthusiasm. The performances are smooth enough to warrant accessibility, yet flashes of punk-like energy often sashay through the matter, resulting in no absence of thrilling loops and spirals.

Slinky rhythms give way to rather funky footing on the Junior League’s “A Dagger And A Kiss,” and “Please (I Need You To)” mixes strummy country-slanted riffs with honey-soaked Beach Boys aspirations to a dazzling aftermath. The spirit of the Southern California legends is further summoned on the gentle beauty of “Broken And Mine,” a mesmerizing momentum, clipped of a new wave bent, drives the keyboard heavy “On/Off,” and “It’s You,” which features amazing guitar dynamics, rocks hard with determination.

Spotted with chilly synthesizer fills, the Junior League’s “Disappearing Act” proposes an inventive blend of space age artiness and Badfinger-inspired pop, “The Long Goodbye” is soft and jazzy, and “Smarter Than That” stomps and snarls to a penetrating shuffle. The title track of Also Rans, as well as “The Stars In Your Eyes” and “Before You Go,” are pretty much straight-forward radio-friendly pop rockers, marked by grand hooks, harmonious singing, solid percussion, and gripping grooves by the gallon.

Each and every song on Also Rans consists of wildly catchy openers and closers, prompting the album to be a thoroughly realized set of songs that move from strength to strength with unbelievable ease. If you’re on a tight budget and can only afford one record, the Junior League’s latest is the one to buy!

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 with "Stand By Me" -- which is actually one of her favorite songs, especially John Lennon's version. She's contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as Rock Beat International's associate editor. Paterson has also published Inside Out, and Twist & Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Beverly Paterson
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