After the release of their much-maligned, much-overlooked 2009 album, Begone Dull Care, Junior Boys’ main singer, Jeremy Greenspan, took two months off in China. The brief stay awarded him and other member Matt Didemus time to simply disconnect from the intense mirage of life by ways of a cultural clash. While the move certainly drew inspiration on a sonic level, the electronic duo have taken a brand new direction in what might be their most liveliest set of music to date with It’s All True. Although the former’s music was a smothering affair, the latter is still a skillful testament to the tandem’s magnificently eclectic sound while honing in on some new, shining aspects.
A much poppier affair to the more subdued, high-brow IDM they branded on masterpieces like So This is Goodbye, the album asserts itself with a strong presence in catchy grooves. On stuttering “ep” music transfers between the broken up sounds of stellar synths and contrasting drum taps and earlier, on the opening “Itchy Fingers,” the music begins slow and tranquil for a mere five seconds before shifting into hyperdrive. Infusing It’s All True with a clashing drive of fast and rapid sounds is definitely a change of pace from the soothing openers experienced on erstwhile releases. Regardless, the modification in sequencing is surely an afterthought when realizing that still, there is terrific music all over the album.
When thinking about It’s All True’s production values, there is still an undeniable amount of influences that continue to permeate throughout all of Junior Boys’ music. The 80s are still strongly represented on high-paced, keyboard-based songs like “A Truly Happy Ending” and again, on the beautifully-rendered “Banana Ripple” – a song that begins with Greenspan’s breathy vocals to the backdrop of playful synths. It gradually swells into a flourishing mesh of electronic layers – grand and gorgeous – acting as the album’s closing act with some of the finest compositional work the duo has ever created.
Greenspan’s voice, especially, is a stunning development to note that after so many years, it has simply improved. With the aforementioned talk of the album’s sequencing comes the slight folly in placing the disjointed ballad of “Playtime” right after the jittery opener. While there is an argument to be made, there is no denying the fact that fragile and gripping, the vocals are a fitting touch. Even on “Kick the Can” and its aggressive drumming, the incomprehensible vocals add another layer to the music’s snake-like demeanor. Drums and keys trade off between a mixture of rhythms and the minimal twists are carried out by Didemus and Greenspan in meticulous manner. Manipulating your strengths to your favor is something Junior Boys have clearly mastered and fortunately, it continues to thrive.
Four albums in, the music continues to embellish and luckily, entertain for Junior Boys. Even though It’s All True might not be the resounding return of earlier albums, the transitions the duo has embarked on have found them crafting sound into brand new revelations. Progression is always something we take for granted and Junior Boys have never been a pair to settle; they wouldn’t have it any other way with yet another daring album to continue on the entertaining.