Review: Junior Doctor – Clumsy Words…

Artist: Junior Doctor
Album: Clumsy Words and Bad Pickup Lines
Genre: Pop-punk
Label: Toucan Cove/Universal

Even though I grew up on bands like Sugarcult and Good Charlotte, pop-punk and I have had a love/hate relationship these past few years. The music hasn’t changed much, but the scene has become so diluted with bands using identical names, song titles, haircuts and stage moves, that it’s become impossible to tell many of them apart. They’ve undoubtedly seen the incredible success of bands like All Time Low and Mayday Parade, and hope to ride the same wave to the top. Unfortunately, many of them simply end up fading into the abyss of forgettable pop groups.

Based in Cocoa Beach, Florida, Junior Doctor are a four-piece act that are well on their way to being one of the few to break through the clutter. While it’s not uncommon to hear of bands forming at a school like Berklee, the founding members of JD actually met each other in med school, then dropped out to pursue music full time. So far, it doesn’t seem like it’s a decision they’ll be regretting.

With catchy melodies, quotable lyrics and undeniable musicianship, the group brings us their first full-length record, Clumsy Words and Bad Pickup Lines. The songwriting isn’t the only strength on the album though, as the production is equally impressive. Of course, I wouldn’t expect anything less for producers who have worked with the two aforementioned pop punk heavyweights, plus Cartel, Underoath, The Click Five, Anberlin and Go Radio.

Clumsy Words opens with the back-to-back “Impressive” and “Pretty Girl,” pounding, energetic anthems that start the album off on a great note. The third track (and first single), “Uh Oh,” changes things up by starting off with a bouncy pop beat. It’s these subtle, yet dynamic changes that allow this record to flow nicely, as well as stay intriguing for the full 40 minutes. “Uh Oh”‘s sing-song chorus recounts a boy’s frustration with being invisible to the girl of his dreams, and will surely have fans singing at the top of their lungs.

Junior Doctor slow things down towards the middle of the record with “Keep On” and “Beautiful and Blind,” proving that they can effortlessly pull off the ballads too. The downtime doesn’t last long, though, and the record picks back up with the aggressive, Spill Canvas-like “Alright” and “What I Do,” which were the two standouts on the record. The album closes with the acoustic “Leaving,” which allows vocalist/rhythm guitarist Mark Hartman’s voice to shine without all the bells and whistles of the rest of the tracks. It’s a striking change, and it’s pulled off beautifully.

Though Junior Doctor will certainly be adored by a younger crowd, it’s a band that the more mature music fan will be able to enjoy as well. With skyrocketing views and plays on YouTube and MySpace, along with radio airplay, you’ll definitely be hearing their name in the future. Don’t be late to the party.

Score: 8.5/10
Review written by: Rebecca Frank

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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