RE-ASSESS: Junior Boys

So normally with a re-assess the interesting/motivational force would be the opinion needle moving from UMMM, DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE, THIS SOUNDS LIKE FUCKING JERMAINE JACKSON to something more like WAIT, I WAS WRONG – THIS MAKES ME WANNA JUMP IN A KIDDIE POOL AND HI-FIVE PEOPLE!! The 180-ness of it all making you wanna yell about it from the nearest mountain top and/or weblog. This Last Exit thing is very NOT THAT, though. Just for clarification.

Back in my super ILM-trolling day, I saw the good amount of rallying around the first JB album (and the preceding EPs). And, of course, the ‘fork review. I listened with what I remember as open ears. I waded through comments about the bonus disc remixes being “perfunctory.” I considered as interneterz said stuff like, “It’s like Timbaland doing 2-step, but, like, GLITCHY” (paraphrase, obvs). But this shit just DID NOT RESONATE.

My appreciation/enjoyment was frustratingly arms-length. It was: “yeah, yeah this is ‘good’, I get it.” It seemed like a little bit of everything everyone was saying it was; it was skating by on neat-o reference points and the fact that it was SMART dance music (not to be confused with INTELLIGENT dance music. OOF). Something seemed missing to me — a lot seemed missing, actually. This shit was DREARY. It wasn’t Dance and it wasn’t Pop. Nothing was shining, nothing screamed. I tried a few times, even bought the CD (with the perfunctory remixes)…then shelved it.

That was 2004 or so. Which, fuck, seems like not that long ago. In any case, skipping past all kinds of personal and music nerd listening habit history, I’ve been listening to Last Exit a bunch recently. And it’s basically a whole new ballgame. I’d really rather not get into what about the way I’ve “grown” or whatever has made the sonics of LE more palatable, so if we could let that slide, that’d be cool.

Point is: the “moodiness” as a function of the muted sounds on this record can be seriously GORGEOUS and ENGAGING and, umm, GREAT if you just set yr expectations on stun. A few things:

The Drums: Unlike newer JBs (see So This is Goodbye), the drums are skittery and, YES, bordering on IDM! It’s a Squarepusher-on-downers kind of thing. The difference here is all that shuffling, the clipped snares, etc. are there to create SPACE for BREATHY, PILLOW SYNTH-Y POP. And you know what, yeah I even hear some TIMBALAND. I said it.

The Mood: Okay, yeah, it’s not Katrina & the Waves but fuck if this sputtery r&b synth can’t also be IMMEDIATE. There’s the whispering vox to contend with (not a small feat, if yr looking for melody IN YOUR FACE), but LE lives on the sexy and SAD end of the pop matrix. It’s rainy-day pop rather than drivin’ 55 pop, but POP nonetheless. (Don’t wanna overuse the P word, but it needs to be said and re-said that this ain’t just “electronic” music.)

Ok so this is my first real post on the Pinky and I don’t wanna get carried away. Welcome to the terror tome, suckas.

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3 Comments

Filed under Pop, Posted by Doorknobs, Re-assess

3 responses to “RE-ASSESS: Junior Boys

  1. Anna

    Why are you so wise music guru…why? xo

  2. Pingback: first impressions: begone dull care at 17 dots

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