PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.

Music

Junior Boys: It's All True

Ian Mathers

Canadian bedroom dance maestros make a mostly great album, but there are a few missteps...


Junior Boys

It's All True

Label: Domino
US Release Date: 2011-06-14
UK Release Date: 2011-06-14
Amazon
iTunes

It's All True begins with a song called "Itchy Fingers", which is about as unsettled and frenetic as a Junior Boys song is likely to get. It's followed with "Playtime", a lengthy, almost unsettingly sensuous slow jam that's either about fighting or sex. If you're not in the mood for the former, it seems twitchy and immature. If you're not in the mood for the latter, it seems either becalmed or unsettling. The question, then, is how many people are likely to be in the mood for both (I lean towards the latter, myself).

To be fair, Junior Boys have set an extremely high bar for themselves. Ever since the "Birthday"/"Last Exit" 12" in 2003, Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus have managed to walk a thin line between bedroom introspection and dance music, and if Last Exit and So This Is Goodbye skewed just a titch too far in those directions, 2009's stellar Begone Dull Caresynthesized everything the band had done before and arguably fulfilled the promise of that first single. At its best, It's All True lives up to Junior Boys' past work, but it's the spottiest album of their career, the first one with real peaks and valleys.

Peaks first: I have friends who respond to "Playtime" the way they did to Hot Chip's "Slush" (another slow one that I love), but we all seem to agree that the sequence of "You'll Improve Me" / "A Truly Happy Ending" is one of the album's highlights, percolating the way most Junior Boys songs that aren't "In the Morning" don't quite manage even as they reach for typically knotty insights into relationships and personality. And the closing "Banana Ripple" is the band's first real anthem, making full use of its nine minutes to build to an honest-to-god climax, Greenspan repeating "and you'll never see me, and you'll never see me, and you'll never see me go" with real heat. The oddly capitalized "ep" precedes it with maybe the most rawly emotional track Greenspan has ever sung.

Unfortunately, "ep" is preceded by the mostly wordless, busy "Kick the Can", which isn't just the most unnecessary Junior Boys song since Last Exit's instrumental interlude "Neon Rider" (which at least was brief); it's their worst, period. It's All True improves if you skip "Kick the Can", but the middle section of "The Reservoir" / "Second Chance" is flabby in a way this band has never really been, even if the former has a gorgeous surface (and oddly, sounds a bit like a leftover from Stars' Heart album). Even "Itchy Fingers" can wear out its welcome.

Does that make It's All True 'transitional', then? I don't think so, if only because I'm not sure what it could be a transition to. The better material here ranks among the band's very best, and it fits in and even extends what Begone Dull Care did to colonize a surprisingly original place in the midst of several genres. It's just that this time, some of those extensions needed a bit of an edit. In the old days, they would have called those bits "album tracks".

7

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 100-81

PopMatters' best albums of the 2000s begin with a series of records that span epic metal, ornate indie folk, and a terrifying work of electronic music.

Books

The Power of Restraint in Sophie Yanow, Paco Roca, and Elisa Macellari's New Graphic Novels

The magical quality that makes or breaks a graphic novel lies somewhere in that liminal space in which art and literature intersect.

Books

'People of the City' Is an Unrelenting Critique of Colonial Ideology and Praxis

Cyprian Ekwensi's People of the City is a vivid tale of class struggle and identity reclamation in the shadows of colonialism's reign.

Music

1979's 'This Heat' Remains a Lodestone for Avant-Rock Adventure

On their self-titled debut, available for the first time on digital formats, This Heat delivered an all-time classic stitched together from several years of experiments.

Film

'The Edge of Democracy' and Parallels of Political Crises

Academy Award-nominated documentary The Edge of Democracy, now streaming on Netflix, lays bare the political parallels of the rise of Bolsonaro's Brazil with Trump's America.

Music

The Pogues' 'The BBC Sessions 1984-1986' Honors Working-Class Heroes

The Pogues' BBC Sessions 1984-1986 is a welcome chapter in the musical story of these working-class heroes, who reminded listeners of the beauty and dignity of the strong, sooty backs upon which our industrialized world was built.

Music

Mary Halvorson Creates Cacophony to Aestheticize on 'Artlessly Falling'

Mary Halvorson's Artlessly Falling is a challenging album with tracks comprised of improvisational fragments more than based on compositional theory. Halvorson uses the various elements to aestheticize the confusing world around her.

Music

15 Overlooked and Underrated Albums of the 1990s

With every "Best of the '90s" retrospective comes a predictable list of entries. Here are 15 albums that are often overlooked as worthy of placing in these lists, and are too often underrated as some of the best records from the decade.

Books

'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.

Music

20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.

Film

Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.

Film

The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.

Television

Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).

Music

Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.

Music

Aalok Bala Revels in Nature and Contradiction on EP 'Sacred Mirror'

Electronic musician Aalok Bala knows the night is not a simple mirror, "silver and exact"; it phases and echoes back, alive, sacred.

Music

Clipping Take a Stab at Horrorcore with the Fiery 'Visions of Bodies Being Burned'

Clipping's latest album, Visions of Bodies Being Burned, is a terrifying, razor-sharp sequel to their previous ode to the horror film genre.

Music

Call Super's New LP Is a Digital Biosphere of Insectoid and Otherworldly Sounds

Call Super's Every Mouth Teeth Missing is like its own digital biosphere, rife with the sounds of the forest and the sounds of the studio alike.

Music

Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.