Los Angeles duo Junior Varsity is a group that, above all else, is making the music they want to make. At first glance, it seems like a painfully obvious statement, but in a world where the "business" aspect of the music business is often emphasized above all else, Junior Varsity's relentless drive to create a project that leaves not just a lasting impression but serves a reflection of their artistry is nothing if not admirable. "The thought was, 'Fuck what other people think of our music.' Why would we let the gatekeepers determine whether our shit was cool?," candidly shares the Los Angeles duo. And thus we arrive at their eponymous debut EP, a six-song collection of disparate yet cohesive sights, sounds, moods, and rapturous catharsis.
From its persistent static fuzz to euphoric guitar runs, Junior Varsity is steeped in an unshakable '90s nostalgia. The sentiment is readily apparent in the EP's lead single, "Cold Blood," whose narration calls to mind early Beck, at least until the liberating alternative-fueled breakdown shakes off any lingering surface-level comparisons. The spill tab - assisted "Weather" moves at a similar clip, balancing its penchant for anthemic detours with an endless pursuit to feel anything at all and the subsequent escapism that follows. It's at these moments where Junior Varsity feels truly limitless in their alternative appeal, capable of delivering an anthem for the loner and dreamer in all of us.
For its succinct runtime, Junior Varsity manages to cover an impressive amount of emotional breadth. It's a testament to the duo's understanding of the emotional lows and highs necessary to make a project exist as a project, as opposed to a mere collection of singles. The ambitious "JV Movie Score," for instance, stays wholly true to its name, with Junior Varsity launching headfirst into a cinematic score buoyed by a breathtaking, heartfelt, and cosmic swirl of swelling instrumentation and production. Or take "Michael Jordan," whose chopped-up production and hypnotic repetition gives off the air of left-field sonic poetry.
Junior Varsity feels timeless while remaining a definitive illustration of one of music's most fearless risk-takers. As a band that made a name for themselves by throwing semi-secret shows throughout Los Angeles and New York, Junior Varsity's debut EP cements the duo as an act more than capable of capturing all the unrelenting emotional pathos of their rapturous live performances in one succinct sonic package.
Listen to Junior Varsity below: