Junior Boys - Begone Dull Care

Nick Lewis 09/08/2009

Rating: 3/5

This is a very confusing record. It seems to have been started with a clear idea of what it was to be, electro, and then got distracted along the way. It's got all the 1980s synthesizers and drum machines, and the singer sounds like a stoned Calvin Harris at art school. On paper then, it should be a fairly standard electro record.

The trouble is, Junior Boys don't seem to be quite clear on what they want to achieve with it, I'm not sure if they're trying to get me to dance or to think. The tunes are quite catchy, but all about 10bpm too slow to make you want to bust a move. There are certain sections that appeal to the cerebral side of dance music, coming across like something on Warp Records, but they're fleeting. All you can be certain of with this is that it's an electro record. That much is clear. Ultimately though that very certainty makes it sound like a Flight of the Conchords pastiche - but not as funny.

If you're really into the whole retro 80s electro revival thing and can overlook exactly how derivative it is then you'd probably really like this. Despite being unclear on how you're meant to react to them, the tunes are pretty decent. For me there's not enough going on to keep me completely engaged but then again, there's something starkly charming about the minimalist (for electronic music) arrangements. That it's slightly too slow to be proper dance music makes it seem like there's a certain sadness to it that gives it an edge over the likes of say La Roux and by the same token, it doesn't seem as vacuously scenester as some of its 80s revival peers. At base it's modern pop music stripped down to a skeleton of arpeggiated analogue synthesizers, and there's something quite cool about that, even if it's hard to put your finger on exactly why.

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