Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Junior Boys - Hazel / Begone Dull Care

Junior Boys - Hazel (*****)
single review for the skinny

Hazel, the first single from Junior Boys' upcoming third album Begone Dull Care is the best thing they've ever done, repudiating all the fair criticisms that can be levelled at the Canadian electropop duo. If they can at times give off an air of reserved tastefulness, it's because they don't do beats as funky as this often enough, or vocals as heartfelt about stories so illuminating. The breakdown is glorious, all pulsing silver bursts and soulful howls at the moon, but it's the slow unfurling of the lovesick story towards a climactic last line that'll send you head over heels...

Junior Boys - Begone Dull Care (***)
album review for the skinny

On their third album, Canadian electropop duo Junior Boys still can't shake off the nagging criticisms that have followed them since day one. Last Exit and So This Is Goodbye were beautiful-sounding but largely forgettable, because the pristine coolness of their production aesthetic meant little without great melodies. As expected, Begone Dull Care sounds gorgeous in headphones, especially moments like the intro of Dull To Pause, where a Spanish guitar trill is decayed until it sounds like electric raindrops. It's lovely, but the song winds down into nothing about halfway through, because Junior Boys are too cautious to take any risks. The brilliant next song Hazel steps forward with energy and feeling, yet its passion highlights their aloofness elsewhere. Like wallflowers, Junior Boys are easy to like but difficult to love, and unless they learn to loosen up a little they'll forever be stuck in the friend zone.

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