[16 December 2009]
From Kraftwerk to Daft Punk, electronica often has a natural inclination to sound like the music of robots. Precision beats and cold melodies compel movement and ring with huge volume but the genre often fails to synthesize music that sounds flawed, intimate and well, human. Canadian duo Junior Boys’ 2009 album Begone Dull Care is significant in its ability to warp clunky electronic beats into emotional, empathetic songs. Transcending genre, the album simultaneously blends fluid structure with colorful statements on love that swing from sexy to sweetly innocent in a matter of measures. Deep and dynamic, Begone Dull Care is so enjoyable and relatable perhaps because it is so well layered and prone to pleasing changes that make it brazenly addictive. Entrancing love ballads like “Hazel” take washes of perky synth bits, a ferocious beat, and stacked melodies into a climactic duo with romance stained vocals. As the ecstatic energy of one solo dwindles, the ominous sweep intro of the melancholy “Sneak a Picture” transforms the an exuberant mood into the sound of a rainy, dark dance between majors and minors. With careful attention paid to the rich interplay between parts and a penchant for authentic transformations within songs, the Junior Boys gifted 2009 with an insanely catchy collection of tunes that rewrites a human sort of electronica for the year’s lovers and broken hearts.