REVIEW: Junior Boys – “Big Black Coat”

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REVIEW: Junior Boys – “Big Black Coat”

by Chad Jewett

For much of their career, which now spans a couple decades, Ontario electro duo Junior Boys made computerized pop music that you could either dance to or pore over as a grid of expertly assembled studio choices. Their songs move, but they also demand the vacuum seal of quality headphones. Albums like So This Is Goodbye, the group’s exquisite 2006 LP, played like a more kinetic version of the bedroom laptop symphonies of Dntel, but with a more florid kind of winking melancholy subbed in for Jimmy Tamborello and company’s hermit-like subjectivity. But the years since have seen Junior Boys slowly but surely adding sharper angles and more actively energetic pulses to their aesthetic, finally arriving at 2011’s variably effusive and prickly It’s All True.

“Big Black Coat”, the band’s first single since that LP (and our first listen from their forthcoming album of the same name), finds the band exploring something moodier, a seven minute dirge unfolding somewhere between the clattering gloom of Yeezus and the synth-driven electro-punk of very early New Order; it’s a long slow-burn that plays out like some hi-def remix of a Suicide b-side that simmers rather than boil over. Lyrics are kept to a minimum, leaving more room for the song’s melting keyboards and its bell-like percussion. It’s all a logical step from the more subterranean, neon-lit surfaces of It’s All True — but it’s also really, really fun. With “Big Black Coat”, Junior Boys prove themselves wholly adept at reworking the slightly sinister, noir-ish mood-music of early 80s post-punk for their own palette of carefully chosen sounds.


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Independent Music & Arts Criticism

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