Junior Boys’ new album, It’s All True, as the album suggests, is all true to the Junior Boys’ range of musical styles. Their synth pop or new disco sound often described as “slick” has been a consistent (and evolving) thread throughout their music. Since their 2004 debut album, Last Exit, the duo has grown from a complex project of drum patterns, breaks, and layered rhythms, into a stripped down more dance friendly sound on their 2009 album, Begone Dull Care. That album was so stripped it was criticized for lacking the layered nuances that made their 2006 album So This Is Goodbye such an acclaimed success.
With this chronology in mind, It’s All True seems to attempt to pick apart the previous albums into a reflective homage, whether consciously or not. It seems fitting that opening track “Itchy Fingers” reflects the duo’s beginning with its complex rhythms, jumping from a soulful sex romp into a crazed two-step rhythm before breaking for a Timberland-esque bridge of synth progressions. Then there is the over simplified Begone Dull Care with the slower “Playtime” or the club beat “Kick The Can” both having their moments, but quickly becoming redundant.
The strength of It’s All True is reached with the balance of tempered rhythmic layers, catchy hooks and pop sensibility on the first single “Banana Ripple.” At nine minutes long, it’s at first a surprising choice for a single. Seamlessly progressing before having a rhythmic climax around the fifth minute–wait, let me repeat the fifth minute–“Banana Ripple” keeps listeners waiting, wanting more, lost in rhythms until nine minutes of your life has passed by–again. For us the highlight is “Second Chances” where Jeremy Greenspan sings honestly over a compelling 80s hip hop/funk beat lamenting second chances with lyrics like, “Ten years ago just a burned out raver, now you need a favor, cause you’re living in the past, who am I to argue because nothing ever lasts.”
Like Junior Boy’s discography which has memorable tracks from all albums but one acclaimed gem, most of It’s All True doesn’t stand up to a few great songs.
Junior Boys: “Banana Ripple”
Junior Boys: “Second Chance”
Junior Boys: “Itchy Fingers”