Begone Dull Care

Junior Boys

Domino Records, 2009

http://www.juniorboys.net

REVIEW BY: Kenny S. McGuane

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/28/2009

Sigh.

It just seemed so damn unlikely that the Canadian synth duo known as Junior Boys would be able to follow up 2006’s genius and critically acclaimed sophomore album So This Is Goodbye with anything remotely close to its subtleties and visionary electro-funk perfection. This is a shitty way to begin a review of a new album, I know. I just want to get it out there that I in no way whatsoever expected the Junior Boys’ follow up to So This Is Goodbye to be anywhere near as good.

Which is why my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Begone Dull Care is a perfectly satisfying album; I had low expectations from the get go. It’s everything I knew it would be.

To be clear, as an isolated incident, when not being weighed against Junior Boys’ ambitious debut, 2004’s Last Exit, or So This Is Goodbye, their latest effort stands strong as a competent addition to the plethora of albums currently being released by all of the other synth-pop and electro-funk revivalists.

Intact on Begone Dull Care is lead singer Jeremy Greenspan’s awesomely breathy and minimalist vocal approach, which has always lent itself perfectly to the Junior Boys’ spacious electro-arrangements. Kicking off with the slim-slap-thud of the six and a half minute “Parallel Lines,” it becomes apparent that the boys are pulling from Last Exit aesthetic rather than picking up where they left off on So This Is Goodbye – which is fair enough, only we tasted the honey on the latter record and so it throws us off course when they reference the former. “Work” is perhaps the album’s strongest track and begs immediately for some stunning re-mixes. “Bits And Piece” and “Sneak A Picture” show off the Junior Boy’s awesomely whitewashed R&B muscles, while the album’s first single “Hazel,” despite it playing on for two minutes too long, shows the duo experimenting more with some uppity dance ingredients and this suits them nicely.

In the end, Begone Dull Care is likely to be forgotten and what sort of shelf life it has remains to be seen. But like I said before: nobody should have been expecting another So This Is Goodbye anyway and Begone Dull Care is a strong enough record on its own, it just takes a little more love. Junior Boys fans will be pleased, but if the duo wants to remain on top of the electro-pop pile, they’ll need to revisit the cohesion, structure and atmospherics of So This Is Goodbye.

Rating: B-

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© 2009 Kenny S. McGuane and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Domino Records, and is used for informational purposes only.