Junior Boys still seem to come across as a rather underwhelming name, rarely heard outside of certain circles; but when one considers their work with techno legend Carl Craig and tours with the likes of Hot Chip alongside various high profile remixes, the true nature of their position comes to light.
Having actually been together and making music for many years now, one could almost regard them as the forbearers of Hot Chip’s mantle as the Kings of carefully crafted downbeat electronic stylings; though Junior Boys have always maintained more of a tehno influence which one can very much hear in this delightful record.
Opening up on this new EP with the melancholic "Parallel Lines”, with it’s delicate vocals gently layered over minimal landscapes and softened drums. Second track “Work” takes us into darker territories that occupy the land somewhere in between The Knife and Gui Boratto, with acidic loops and a pulsating bass. Then, suddenly, the mood shifts up a gear with “Bits & Pieces” which comes across like the bastard child of Hot Chip and Matthew Dear. There are even handclaps thrown in for good measure alongside layered vocals and hooky yet sporadic melodies. “Dull To Pause” is essentially a wonderful piece of down-tempo pop while “Hazel” takes us in the other direction, being wonderfully upbeat, underpinned with elements of (ex-Hot Chipper) Grovesnor.
Continuing with the theme of contrasts on this record, “Sneak A Picture” once again takes the mood down somewhat, utilising skipping beats, quirky synth lines and gently stabbing bass. “The Animator" is a piece I’m not entirely certain how to describe; whilst being stylistically very much a part of the record it seems to stand on its own slightly but I can’t quite put my finger on why. Needless to say it’s another brilliant piece of dark, electronic pop.
Closing track “What’s It For” is a beautiful, slow burning piece that starts off simply with some subtle background pulsating aquatic synths, before gentle vocals roll in over the top and an ecstactic melody casually builds over the whole thing in such a manner that one will hardly notice it’s presence until it leaves you and the EP has played out.
A wonderfully dark electronic piece, which is all the while strangely uplifting, Junior Boys have once again proved themselves as one of the most criminally underrated bands around today.
Junior Boys - Bits & Pieces