Junior Citizen was initially released in 1995 via Sire records, and in this album Poster Children has crafted another stellar addition to their discography. This is by far the most radio-friendly of their collections, with every track feeling more accessible than the previous material. This is indie punk and pop-punk with a mature and thoughtful vision around it, and best exemplifies the label of ‘college rock’ that is often associated with the band.
Along with this accessibility comes a shift in overall tone and the emotion. which is by far more optimistic and hopeful than its predecessor, 1993’s Tool of The Man. Here we find a version of Poster Children that’s still rebellious and politically-charged, but with more confidence and hope that fuels its core message of empowerment.
The best example of this is the anthemic title track, which serves as a call to action. A song that leaps and soars with great fervor for a better future. Elevating riffs drive the movement to great heights while its call to unity rings loud and clear. Valentin sings: “Violence with guitars / broadcast from the stars / The only weapons here are our mouth, mind, eyes and ears”. This is coupled with a bridge that plays like a launch sequence which really drives home its message.
Similarly, “Revolution Year Zero” is spunky pop-punk with a sing-along melody and triumphant sound. “New Boyfriend” is loud and full of rock n’ roll luster that feels like the progenitor of dad rock. Even their angrier dis-filled tracks are given a strong resolute tone with big power chords that exude more confidence and less anxiety. “Get a Life” is a rant against an authority figure who’s “out of touch” and “out of time” so “take it all / get out of line.” While “King for a Day” feels like its restless and more playful sequel.
Along with these loud rock songs are a few slow tracks that provide a refreshing reprise to the whole mix. “He’s My Star” is a sincere song that pays tribute to a friend who’s always there when you’re down. “Drug I Need” is a love song that’s the closest the band has ever had to making a power ballad.
It’s mature, thoughtful and thought-provoking. Junior Citizen proves not only how consistent Poster Children are with their quality but also the versatility of their craft. We’ve gone through three of their albums so far and I must say, it’s been a delight discovering that new and interesting things they come up with in every offering.