JUNIOR ACHIEVER - All The Little Letdowns

Junior Achiever - All The Little Letdowns

13 songs
36:19 minutes
*****
Engineer

Bandpage

In the Nineties, Gene Champagne was the drummer for Canadian alternative rock band The Killjoys who enjoyed some success in their country. I can’t remember them ever gaining popularity in Europe. It may seem weird than ten years later, he founds a band called Junior Achiever, but I let this pass as irony.

Switching from the drums to vocals and guitar, Champagne has now his own vehicle for his melancholic songs that oscillate between power pop and pop punk, although more often than not it’s the latter genre that prevails. The CD has been mixed by Ed Krautner who worked in the past already with other top Canadians like Sum 41 and Avril Lavigne, which might not have been the wisest choice. All The Little Letdowns has on the one hand everything an album needs to make it popular with teenagers: catchy melodies, broken heart lyrics, clean production, totally inoffensive. But all those things on the other hand are what make this album indistinguishable from other pop punk records: it’s just more pop than punk!

Junior Achiever have already had two of their songs, Another Stupid Love Song and Suburbs, featured in the Canadian drama series Degrassi: The Next Generation, aimed mainly at teenagers. But beware: teenagers are quite a volatile and not very local clientele. I would not be surprised if Junior Achiever, with some effective promotion behind them, would get moderate to high success with their debut, because it is no better or worse than many other young pop punk bands who sell out clubs and arenas, but in the long run, it is inevitable to take some risk and release themselves from this too rigid template. Bands like Weezer and Nada Surf have shown that it is possible to make highbrow alt rock for all kinds of ages. Junior Achiever have yet to prove that they can do the same.

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