Thursday, July 28, 2011

Banana Ripple

Song: Banana Ripple
Artist: Junior Boys
Album: It's All True

As longtime readers know, I'm a huge fan of Canadian electro duo Junior Boys, and have been since their debut album "Last Exit" from 2004.  It was their sophomore set "So This is Goodbye" that cemented it for me, but I also dug the less attention grabbing "Begone Dull Care" from 2009.  That album was a return to the more moody vibe of their debut and this continues with their latest, "It's All True" released last month.

In truth, I've been listening to the album since mid-May and it really just wasn't grabbing me.  (In general not much new has... but that's anther story)  But I was recently putting together a sexy downtempo playlist, where the Boys are ALWAYS invited, and got re-listening to the album again.  Maybe it's because, in retrospect, "So This is Goodbye" was kind of upbeat... that I keep wanting a bit more punch from the Boys, but that certainly isn't their M.O. with "It's All True."  It's a quiet but slow-burning moody piece of minimalism that's built for early early mornings or late late nights.  (As an aside, they've always been good at making amazing have-sex-to-this music.)

During the re-listen though a couple songs did take hold as standouts as they did on "Goodbye."  "A Truly Happy Ending" has stuttered beats and swirling synths as it begins, but really comes together at the chorus, which brings the vocals up front and center.  It might not get you up to dance, but you'll be swaying and really feeling it.  First track "Itchy Fingers" sounds like classic Junior Boys, with a hint of Asian influence, most likely spurred on by an extended visit to Shanghai which they recently returned from before the recording of the record.  It doesn't overpower the music at all, just a new layer.  I do take issue with following that promising track with "Playtime" which really slows things down.  A little too much.  It really probably should have been the closing track.

While interesting, these breaks in style mar the record a bit.  "Kick the Can," towards the end of the record focuses on quiet house beats and ignores vocals completely, going for moody experimentation.  Blah.  They vocals are missed, and it doesn't quite work.  But then things return with "ep," which returns to the classic Junior Boys sound.  Then in the end they give us "Banana Ripple," a nine-minute-plus odyssey of Junior Boys-ness that's as epic as these guys have ever done.  For a closing track, it's an odd choice as it's probably the most upbeat on the album.  Instead of a feeling of closure, it makes you feel like you're about to hit a second wave.  It's kind of amazing.

Not sure why this album took s long to click with me.  It's not my favorite of theirs, but if you're a fan it's required listening of course.  And if your unfamiliar it's actually a fine way to start.


Banana Ripple
Itchy Fingers
A Truly Happy Ending

No comments: