The story so far...
The Junior Boys defy any easy equation of pop or dance, joining a long tradition of sonically rich pop that unites emotionally charged songcraft with experimental genres (eg - New Order, Beach Boys). Just as Luomo redefined house, mixing dub, electronica and vocals, this is breaks new ground for electro-pop, blending heart felt vocals with a production style that owes a debt to artists as varied as Timbaland, Todd Edwards, Fennesz and the Basic Channel school. In short, it reflects early 80s pop history back through the styles of contemporary dance. They formed somewhere around 1999 in Hamilton, Canada, the same town that brought us Manitoba and Kieran '4Tet' Hebden’s text label.
Junior Boys conception occurred with two events: first listening to Dem 2’s ‘Baby (you’re so sexy)’, causing them to say "Yo! this is the future of music" then hearing Sylvian/Sakamoto doing ‘Bamboo Houses’ prompting "Woah! THIS is the future of music"A band was formed, originally a duo: Jeremy Greenspan and Johnny Dark, they began creating the sound that would reconcile these influences, creating exciting fresh pop music that is unapologetically synthetic, yet drenched with passion and feeling.
The first release Birthday / Last Exit in october 2003, a four track ep with remix by Fennesz, brought them unanimous acclaim when it caught the attention of the burgeoning blog scene (a loose collective of music writers) who jokingly tagged them 'the greatest band you've never heard of'.High Come Down EP followed in February 2004 and word began to spread.
Which brings us to the album Last Exit, due for release on the 7th of June in the UK was recorded in Hamilton late 2004. And having developed a 'live' act they are performing a few key dates to showcase the album.
- Dance Album of the Month
***** 5 stars - MOJO
- It's hard to believe there will be a better record than Last Exit released this year
***** 5 stars – UNCUT
- fifth highest rated album of the year with 87/100 average
- its heights eclipse virtually all other music this year..
- New Order produced by The Neptunes, anyone? The first album of the 21st Century. Astonishing
- Brave new world of electro-pop
**** - Q MAGAZINE
- Beautiful dance flecked synthpop
**** - MIXMAG
- Junior Boys is such an astounding relief, boarding on rapturous in their melancholy
- the Boys' combo of neutered soulboyisms and jiggy electronics gives the impression they could be the start of something new for indie rock
- a truly excellent album, one of the best of 2004 so far
- suave debut album... synthesizes different iterations of electronica: dubby microhouse, old-fashioned new wave, futuristic R & B
NEW YORK TIMES
- a dreamy suite of bruise-tender electro and quicksilver soul
- one of the best albums that you will hear all year. Highly Recommended
- it’s hard to see how this group can go wrong in the future
STYLUS - 9.7 / 10
- a quietly revolutionary album. Within six months savvy producers will borrow and steal its innovations, changing the pop landscape for years to come. Few will realize where it started.
fast n bulbous 10/10
- create songs that bring echoes of the past yet take a step forward
Exploding Plastic 10/10
- Hard to imagine any other record this year that will inject so much life into pop music, or one that will give the underground as much inspiration and validity as this
- Kompletter Killer!
- essential... a powerful drug
- a massive album that sees the wire's aesthetic meeting early 80s smash hits Album of the week
- ...suggest Talk Talk produced by Timbaland, Hall & Oates having a panic attack and a very sleepy Underworld.. Junior Boys' spectral vision of electronic pop is an understated, unpredictable delight
**** THE GUARDIAN
- a slow and cinematic road trip of a record; buy it yesterday.
ABSORB (album of the month / ep of the month x2 )
- this record is breathtaking...
MIAMI NEW TIMES
- Junior Boy[s] continues to weave a beguiling kind of ghost pop that cross-breeds the unlikely strains of UK garage, Brian Wilson and hauntingly deconstructed dub techno with a twitchy grin, teasing the conventions of pop to the brink of collapse".
Jockey Slut Magazine - Jockey Slut
"the Luomo-versed Junior Boys have made two of 2003's best indie pop singles"
"...bleeding their songcraft into groove and rhythm, creating a delicate sculpture of broken dreams and beats".
8.5 / 10
Scott Plagenhoef - Pitchfork
"The Canadian electro-pop enigmas drift silently within radar range and grab us unsuspectingly by the nuts and hearts. Naïve lyrics and melodies wrapped in gauzy mystery, coming on like the bastard sons of Marc Almond and Maurizio. Check.".
Mike Carhart-Harris - Sleazenation
"21st century Aphex Twin".Number 11 in Hot New Stars feature - MixMag
"Both 'Birthday' and 'Last Exit' pair quaint synthpop arpeggios with irregular rhythms more suggestive of contemporary R&B; the array of wiry analog tones highlights Greenspan's shadowy voice as though illuminating him in profile."Philip Sherburne - The Wire
"Curiously alien, gloriously synthetic and quite, quite beautiful Canadian pop-hymns toughened up with urban ruggedness; vocals so lachrymose they literally drip with sadness; there’s a gaping silence BETWEEN the beats that sounds like a black-hole reversing on itself; what Scout Niblett would be doing if she had downed a pill containing the last 20 years of electronic music with a whiskey chaser; the need for speed? Junior Boys play parlour games with tempo: their rhythms sound like they are drifting backwards through snow, slow, slow, slowly."
Chris Houghton - Careless Talk Costs Lives
"...bring as much rhythmic inventiveness to the table as any producer in hip hop and garage combined; their insolence lies in incongruously combining it with glittering arctic romanticism."
Tim Finney - Skykicking
"Heirs to Timbaland and Sylvian, Junior Boys are equal parts emotive wistfulness and stop start stutter rhythms; a combination that's as unique yet natural as their ever so (slyly) generic name."
Kodwo Eshun - journalist / author of 'More Brilliant than the Sun'
Unexpectedly, unaccountably, Pop has a future....
Mark Fisher - K-punk
"think crickets on quaaludes filmed on Super8 and then run backwards through a Speak 'n Spell".
Leslie Gilotti - Play Louder
"...neon world outside, trying to make sense out of the shapes beyond the window, rerunning the last few hours, trying to recapture those moments when you felt immortal just because you were dancing without feeling selfconscious to the greatest song you'd ever heard and you forgot to ask the DJ what it was…. poised between nausea and insanely profound thoughts, the faint strain of some local FM station fading in and out beneath the cabbie radio banter sounding like the most poignant soundtrack... and that's what Junior Boys sound like. br> br> br>
Listening to Junior Boys and reading k-punk on their spectral roadmusic. It conjures up an essential part of clubbing rarely mentioned: the taxi home. Back to the early 80s for my anecdotal ramblings: post-Phonographique drunk, forlorn, battered by aural hallucinations and abandoned by friends. Mind on early 20s overdrive. Aching with unrequited love for just about any goth nymphet who'd displaying the right mix of stockingtop and distain and gone off with some Kirkgate fishmonger with a rockabilly quiff. Sprawled alone in the back of a cab watching the ghostly....".
Nigel Richardson - Yes/No Interlude
notes by K-punk (mark fisher)