Major League – “There’s Nothing Wrong With Me” Review

Posted: by Morgan

In the past, Major League seemed to be one of those bands that could never quite find its niche. They’re on a great label (No Sleep Records) and seem to be hard at work, but things have never quite clicked. Last January, however, frontman Nick Trask left the band to pursue other ventures. No disrespect to Trask, but since his departure, Major League have experienced a completely positive remodeling.

On November 3, Major League dropped its sophomore LP, There’s Nothing Wrong With Me, with Brian Joyce providing vocals in addition to his previous guitar and lyrical work. Fans received a taste of this new format in “Homewrecker” on the band’s last record Hard Feelings in which Joyce also lent his voice.

“Wallflower” kicks off the album, establishing a dark overture for the rest of the record. Matt Chila’s simple riffs back Joyce’s somber lyrics and excellent vocals. Joyce’s new role adds significantly more depth to the band’s work and the introspective nature of the album is something listeners should very much appreciate. With his own voice behind his own words, the weight behind every line makes Joyce’s solemn emotional journey through the record refreshingly honest.

This album shows an important shift from the cliché pop-punk sound of the band’s first EP. This change began in Hard Feelings but never felt totally put together. Here, Major League finally fleshes out a grittier, rock sound. This progression is evident in the way “Just As I Am” shifts the tone of the record with its crisp, yet heavy tempo. The track has producer Will Yip’s fingerprints all over it with its amble distortion and grungy feel.

There is little doubt in my mind that Yip is a huge part of the across-the-board improvement in this new record. As per usual, Yip is phenomenal—delivering clean production with just enough gruff to give each track substance. A great bassline backs “Pillow Talk” with a rhythm that swings, showcasing the enhanced musicianship fueled by Joyce. The song focuses more on an interpersonal relationship, rather than just Joyce’s internal struggles for a nice change of subject. Luke Smartnick does a wonderful job polishing off the track to give it that rock-tinged sound. The slightly more uplifting themes continue in “Recovery” encapsulated with a cathartic explosion of guitar that drives the song forward, entrapping listeners as the album winds down.

Another highpoint is the lightning quick intro of “Kaleidoscopes.” The band does an interesting job creating a very specific aesthetic on the record. Rather than only having a few songs with 1 or 2 massive hooks, every single chorus is carefully crafted. Every aspect of each song is important not necessarily 1 single line—highlighting again that shift from the pop-punk style.

The one softer number is the previously released, “Montreal” that was a part of A Comp For Mom in memoriam of No Sleep owner Chris Hansen’s mother. This is 1 of the most personal, heart-on-your-sleeve pieces of music to be released this year. It condenses all of Joyce’s private experiences explained throughout the album, as he is “the poster child for the chemically imbalanced.” This unabashed discussion of his father and his illness speaks to the incredible resilience it requires to truly pour one’s heart in his work.

The Green Day and darker-side Yellowcard influences are extremely apparent in the record’s final tracks. “Devil’s Advocate” hits listeners hard right off the bat again with that catchy, chugging-style riff that matches up with fierce chorus imagery in “I can feel your teeth sink in, behind my back breaking open the skin again.” Also, “Bruiser” pulses with gruff vocals, again emphasizing the band’s drastic development.

Finally, “Rittenhouse” closes this powerful album with a beautifully slow apologetic melody. Joyce’s range is highlighted in his delivery of “Let’s not do this any further with you my dear,” – my favorite line on the entire record. This tranquil finish culminates all the emotion on the album and is absolutely massive when performed in the band’s live act.

With this superb redirection of its sound, Major League’s newest record should be the one that finally awards them the credit they deserve. I’m very glad to have stuck around for the band’s fresh start, and I cannot wait to see where 2015 takes them.

– Morgan