by / February 11th, 2016 /

Junior Boys – Big Black Coat

 1/5 Rating

(City Slang)

A group that’s been quietly going about their business since the turn of the millennium, Ontario-based duo Junior Boys (Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus) have flown somewhat under the radar on their way to releasing four well received LPs. Known for their sophisticated, sometimes melancholic, synth-based electronica, and highly polished production, the pair have made quite a name for themselves as both champions, and innovators of the electronic genre – but the low-key nature of their music means it has always fallen into the ‘underground’ category.

This record however, feels like it’s on to something bigger. Much in the way that Daft Punk’s much celebrated 2013 album Random Access Memories was a tribute to disco, Big Black Coat is, in many ways, a tribute to EDM. Whether this was Junior Boys’ intention is unclear, but the album certainly covers all bases in a journey, albeit not chronological, through the different waves of electronic music.

Along the way we encounter elements of Funky House (‘Baby Give Up’), Chill Out (‘No One’s Business’, ‘Baby Don’t Hurt Me’), Acid (‘And It’s Forever’), and R n’ B (‘Love Is Fire’), as well as the groups’ signature brand of soaring, atmospheric electronica with ‘C’Mon Baby’.

There are also notable nods towards particular eras with the album opening with a Kraftwerk-inspired space-age pop tune in ‘You Say That’, before later encapsulating both late ’70s/early ’80s synth pop (‘Over It’), and, most excitingly, raw, rhythmic Chicago House (‘M&P’, ‘Big Black Coat’). The genre’s ode to sampling is even explored through an interesting remix of the classic Bobby Caldwell soul song ‘What You Won’t Do For Love’.

Each track has something different to offer while the album’s slick production ensures a seamless transition between songs, making Big Black Coat feel more like a DJ set than a singles album. It’s nothing revolutionary, or even original, but it’s a great record for anyone who enjoys dance music.

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