Regardless of your own personal attitudes towards all things pop-punk, you would probably be pretty damn heartless to dislike Cardiff's Junior. Shunning all the stereotypical perceptions of the genre in favour of spreading joy, genre dynamism and just having a good laugh, the three-piece have long been a welcome breath of fresh air - something that's been dearly needed in recent times.
Whilst the pandemic has essentially put a full stop to modern life for the majority of us, Junior have been pretty busy behind the scenes. Following on from the release of their debut record Beautiful Life last year, over the past several weeks the band have been releasing covers of their own personal favourite tracks in benefit of NHS Charities together. So far, the group have added their own personal twists to Boston's 'More Than A Feeling', Thin Lizzy's 'Dancing In The Moonlight and the tearjerker that is Death Cab For Cutie's 'I Will Follow You Into The Dark'.
As the group gear up to release their final cover - their own take on Alkaline Trio's 'Mercy Me' - Matt Attard (Guitar/Vocals), Mark Andrews (Bass/Vocals) and Si Martin (Drums) detail the covers they each personally picked out.
Matt Attard: Boston - More Than A Feeling
"More Than a Feeling’ perfectly encapsulates everything I love about 70s rock. Great textures, interesting chord progressions but at its core, just a really great song. I wanted to do my own take, giving it a bit of ‘Junior’ charm. I feel like this kind of sound is gonna really shape the next Junior project!"
Mark Andrews: Thin Lizzy - Dancing In The Moonlight
"I love the original of this song, and it’s always been my favourite song from Thin Lizzy. I wanted to try and play around with singing it in a different style, which is something we haven’t really done before in Junior in general."
"It’s also played in a more obscure guitar tuning (FACGCE) which Matt and I have loved jamming and writing in for years."
"It was fun doing something so different to our normal stuff, and Matt smashed it on the production! Hope you guys enjoy!"
Si Martin: Death Cab For Cutie - I Will Follow You Into The Dark
"When we started talking about the project of doing covers, I was super keen on the idea of actually singing on one. Since I’ve not been able to play drums (I live in a top floor flat) I’ve been playing the ukulele to stay vaguely musical, so it was fun to get to put it to use! I originally learned how to play ‘I Will Follow You Into The Dark’ cuz it’s my wife’s favourite song, so the first time she came over my house when we were dating, I played it for her. And now we’re married, so, I think that means I nailed it."
"The other fun story is that I was recording the ukulele and vocals on my laptop and sent them over to Matt to add the production and work his magic on. I thought it was using the built-in mic on my laptop but turns out it was recording off the mic on my headphones the whole time, so I was leaning right over the laptop for nothing. I have a first-class degree in Music Technology. Ace."
Mark Andrews: Alkaline Trio - Mercy Me
"This is a song I regularly play on acoustic guitar because it’s an absolute banger. This was the first cover we recorded out of all four of them, and at first it was just me messing around with some recording equipment, but once Matt played around with some mixing and production it ended up sounding pretty good!
"Big fan of Alkaline Trio, hopefully we have done the song justice with this acoustic recondition."
Friday’s cover release of Alkaline Trio’s ‘Mercy Me’ is the fourth and final cover from the lockdown series, with all proceeds from streams and sales of the cover to go to NHS Charities Together in aid of health care professionals battling the ongoing pandemic. You can purchase the covers here and donate directly towards NHS Charities Together here. Beautiful Life is out now.