Junior Boys - Begone Dull Care
My personal experience of Junior Boys was previously limited to their contribution to Stars' remix album. In the last few years, there seems to have been no end to the wealth of Canadian talent and this duo's reworking of Sleep Tonight made my ears perk up and wonder whether America's little sis had finally given birth to an electronic act to sit proud next to Arcade Fire, the New Pornographers and Broken Social Scene. In the interim, the Boys have courted Grammy acknowledgments and (well, one half anyway) moved to Berlin, home of 'I Heart Techno' tees for a good reason.
It's a shame then that Begone Dull Care is a bit of an anticlimax - indeed, they seem to have been courting criticism prematurely by including the word 'Dull' in the title. The big annoyance here is not that anything is terribly bad; it passes by the time quite pleasantly and is no worse than some of the other electro rent-a-kids currently riding high. What irks is that, if these tracks were remixed and given some big ol' disco balls, they could be, ahem, chooooooons.
Of course, the whole angle Greenspan and Didemus (no, not Deadmau5) are going for is the minimalist electronic pop song, where there's room for all the elements to shine and not be smothered by a big honking beat. That's all very well and good but, over the course of eight tracks - posing the question, 'Is it an album? Is it an EP? What the hell is this thing?!' - you will, for sure, glance at your watch. That's too bad because, despite vocals that lack character, the sonics are chilled and pretty and may do a bigger number on us in summer. Heck, Bits and Pieces has Ghostbusters synths, so it's not a travesty by any means. Closer What It's For makes less impact than a fart though, so for now it's probably best to stick with James Murphy and Hercules and Love Affair for that heady mix of visceral and euphoric thrills that this album lacks. Who knows? Next time round, these guys could leave the Junior leagues and join the big boys.