The fourth studio album by Canadian duo Junior Boys, (Matt Didemus, Jeremy Greenspan) has dropped with high anticipation. It’s All True follows two years on from the brilliant Begone Dull Care, an LP that put them on the indie electro map. Frontman Jeremy Greenspan spent some time in Shanghai during this time, an influence that can be heard here on the new album with Chinese harp adding its charm into the mix.
‘Itchy Fingers’ starts things off, with a very 80s opening, big on synth and drum machine before the soft and aching vocals come in. Tightly packed, this track is chock full of sounds without sounding overdone. The Asian strings keep it interesting and will have listeners intrigued by what this next fifty minutes will have in store. ‘Playtime’ comes next, an Indie30 favourite, this track slows things down to a body-swaying tempo that is soft and soulful as anything they have produced. Percussion is soft, keys sound like they are drifting in from another room, and Greenspan’s beautiful voice sounds like a distant echo. It’s a slow dance with a loved one under the mirror ball kind of song, despite lyrics such as “Stare at each other like competitors do”, it’s hauntingly sweet. ‘You’ll Improve Me’ is another highlight, full and complex but somehow laid-back at the same time. There are so many layers present, building up as the track progresses, with tambourine entering the fray on the last few moments.
‘A Truly Happy Ending’ is rife with 70s and 80s electro retroness. Disco infused Greenspan croons “I can’t be patient all the time, come and put your hopes up next to mine”. Elements of classic Kraftwerk sounds are there, but this track and album are firmly rooted in 2011. ‘The Resevoir’ is delicate and warm, faint glockenspiels and a great synthed noise samples creeping in at the three minute mark, one that reminds me of a moment from Dark Side Of The Moon. ‘Second Chance’ has a hell of a catchy bassline, and features Greenspan’s vocals multitracked for the chorus in a song that serves to highlight the talent he possesses, his voice coming across heartfelt and longing as he asks “What’s the truth?”. ‘Kick The Can’ is restrained and choppy, one of the most pure electro outings on this LP. Lyrics are minimal and sung in hushed tones leaving the music up front.
‘ep’ begins with synths twinkling like the milky way, a long intro leading into a blissful pop beauty of a track. Building up over the second half, it again shows the masterful skills and confidence that these guys have on the mixing board, delicately honed over the years. And finally, Like a decadant dessert you have been waiting for all night ‘Banana Ripple’ closes It’s All True. Nine minutes long, it’s the perfect finale for this album, with the dance floor in mind, be it in a club or lounge room. The coloured lights are flashing, and smoke machine is in full swing as this track hits the mark of euphoria around the midway point and doesn’t let up, vocal samples looping with a beat that can’t help but make you feel good.
The masterful producing skills are ever present here on It’s All True, showing how far this band have come over their career from humble beginnings. The way Junior Boys can cram so much into a track, without it coming out the other side like a technicolour mess, is nothing short of mixing genious. Having the ear to know when to hold back is just as important. With tracks as progessive and joyous as ‘Banana Ripple’ closing this new LP it can only make you wonder what they have in store for us on their next outing, and that pretty exciting to ponder.
– Dave Roberts, July 10, 2011