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ATP! Album Review: Major League – Hard Feelings

South Jersey’s Major League is an unstoppable force. Knocking out splits and EP's left, right and centre as well touring incessantly makes this band a threat to be reckoned with, and their latest release, "Hard Feelings", with its consistently catchy hooks and diverse "easycore" anthems is the most recent rung on their ladder to success.

The title-track opens the album; a minute-long, heavy, fast-paced jam that really sets the bar of what listeners can expect from the remainder of the album. Immediately following 'Hard Feelings' is the previously released single, 'Walk Away', a track that is clearly sing-along-worthy (“I never thought I’d hear you say, ‘If you loved me, you would let me go’/But you walked away”) and contrasts startkly with the dark, self-reflective lyrics in 'Nightmares' ("I got too much on my plate/I just can’t fit anymore…I’ve got problems of my own/That’s why I spent these years alone”), which stand out from the tone of the rest of the record.

Tracks like 'Twenty Seven' and 'Landslide' stand out solely for Matt Chila and Brian Joyce’s keen sense of melodic guitar work, but others such as 'Arrows Crossed' serve as relentless anthems, hooking you in with Luke Smartnick’s merciless drumming and a semi-aggressive guitar melody. Fans of Major League’s 2012 split with Long Island natives Giants at Large, entitled "Cities and States" will undeniably appreciate the clever strategy the band uses to pay homage to their friends. At one point, vocalist Nick Trask sings, “The best has yet to come” - also the title of Giants at Large’s 2010 EP. 'Arrows Crossed' ends with a gang vocal chant of lyrics to Giants at Large’s 'Timebomb' from their 2012 album, "Doubt" (“Timebomb ticking and it’s ready to blow/I know at any given moment that it’s set to explode”).

Major League made room on the record for a sentimental tribute song ('Because Heaven Knows'), which may trick the listener into thinking it is a slow song without giving it listen first, solely because of the title. The context, as well as Major League’s tendency to consistently maintain their natural sound, proves this idea false (“You’re the reason I still stand up straight/You help me keep my head high/I know that I’ll see you again someday/For now I’ll look up at the sky”). The band puts their final thoughts for the record in a song called just that. 'Final Thoughts' is a jaunty album closer that also features a wider vocal range for Trask. It mirrors the quick-paced album opener in a way that forces listeners to turn on the “repeat” option.

There is no doubt that 2012 has been the year for pop-punk/easycore-defined bands. Countless records in these genres were composed this year and "Hard Feelings" is in the higher tier of them. With tour dates going well into the early part of next year and an ever-growing fanbase following close behind them, Major League is constantly being given the strength to remain a forceful body in the scene today.

3.5/5

Melissa Jones

"Hard Feelings" is out now through No Sleep Records.