Junior Boys – Begone Dull Care

Junior Boys - Begone Dull Care

Junior Boys - Begone Dull Care

Inspired by and borrowing its title from animator Norman McLaren’s short film, Begone Dull Care is Junior Boys‘ most subtle, detailed album to date. Where McLaren’s film is set to the music of jazz pianist, Oscar Peterson, Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus were obviously influenced by McLaren’s attention to detail. And although it doesn’t seem to be getting the respect and admiration that their previous two albums garnered, Begone Dull Care is a superb album on its own.

Nervy, shaking and unabashedly direct, the electronic duo’s music is astounding while still maintaining that understated radiance they are known for. “Bits and Pieces” is a study in late night dance music with sweet lyrics. Singing “I see it better when the lights go out, just give a second and I’ll figure it out, yes I will” to the music of hand-clapping beats and a saxophone track employs the tandem’s use of emotion and cunning music to its full effect.

The long layoff between albums has done them well and it’s allowed for them to create dazzling, stunningly good electronic music. If nothing else, it proves their worth and even when forgotten by some, the quality of their music is exceptional. The album’s opening lines, “If you found the words, would you really say them?” begin the album with a weighty state of realization. Propelled by catchy 80s-style decorations, the music coasts right along with a wonderful blend of strings and toe-tapping beats.

But what really makes everything work and what ingeniously ties it all together is the album’s seamless sequencing and heart. There are only eight songs but they are all to die for and each cozily fits into the album’s overall theme. At seven minutes long, “Sneak a Picture” is the album’s culmination: evocative lyrics, melodically-led music and timely adjustments that modify the song’s structure and mood. Just when you think everything is going nice and smooth, the duo hit a low, minor tone that shakes the foundation with an echoing cascade of uneasiness.

Lost in all of their talent is the fact that these guys make albums, rather than a few standout tracks buried in filler. The synth-heavy drive of “Hazel” is a foolish romantic at the core singing, “With every kiss, you kill me more.” The propulsion and intensity of the beats result in one of the best songs and this is juxtaposed with the comforting pace of “Dull to Pause,” equipped with toy keyboards and an instrumental breakdown of the most tranquil kind, the duo sing together, “‘Cause I don’t want to share you, so don’t say goodnight, no, don’t say goodnight.”

“The Animator” is evidently an homage to McLaren and his art; it’s a starry, dream-like song that rewards with its great method and delivery. By the end, you are left with a captivating listen and one that requires repeated listens to fully respect its many gifts. It’s certainly a fine achievement, an awesome collection of music has found its way onto Begone Dull Care, and Junior Boys present everything in such an excellent way.