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  Bam Bam Bam!  
  Junior Varsity  
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Essentially, indie rock is all about the Angst. Underneath the guitars and the pedals, behind that upbeat feedback, you will find stress. Usually it's about failed relationships, although it may branch out to encompass human nature, politics, or society. Considering all that anxiety, it's a wonder indie pop icons don't die of heart attacks at a young age. Still, it seems that the music itself, born of strain, provides a catharsis - for the musicians as well as the audience.

Therefore, in the recorded medium, it's nice to a run across a band that doesn't wear its heart on its sleeve. On Bam Bam Bam!, Junior Varsity constructs quick little pseudo-rockabilly ditties without anger. Covering 14 songs in a little over 20 minutes, this 3 piece band (dressed as a pep squad) attacks the simple arrangements with adolescent-esque gusto. Even when singing about boyfriend's blowing up the school (on My Boyfriend) or getting a hold of some liquor (on Package Store), there is a bounce and sly smile which suggests that neither the band nor the audience should take this seriously. Certainly, it's a schtick - but it's also effective, provided you buy into the paradigm.

But that's the problem with Junior Varsity's paradigm: it's about as substantial as the afore-mentioned high school pep squad. Sure the song's are fun...and none of them last long enough to get annoying. On the other hand, the songs don't build up to anything. They tell their little exposition and get out, so that the music starts to run together. And when you can't differentiate songs when you've only got 20 minutes of music, you can tell you've got some serious fluff issues.

In the end, Junior Varsity's Bam Bam Bam! is a throwback to the time when rock music was all about cruising in fast cars, hand-holding with your date, and dancing at the high school sock hop. It's a fun antidote to too much serious rock music, but it's about substantial as your average 1950s chocolate malt.

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