Junior Boys

It's All True

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At some point after the release of the fatigued Begone Dull Care, Junior Boys' Jeremy Greenspan spent two months in China. The trip allowed him to disconnect from industry pressure and proved to be restorative. On their fourth album, he and Matt Didemus offer some of their liveliest, most engaging productions, laced with juddering synthesizer sprites, loose rhythm-guitar wriggles, and even some well-placed Chinese harp. Adding to the lightness is the manner in which the kick drums are used; they tend to act less like anchors than accents. For all the sonic shimmer, not much exposure is needed to realize that the album concerns an embittering relationship. A strong indication comes 40 seconds into the opening "Itchy Fingers," the point when Greenspan delivers "I'd rather crush you with a paper folded, just to see you die" with belligerent ebullience. As ever, the duo’s sound is remarkably amorphous, inviting countless comparisons and context placements across several decades and styles. If you’ve been searching for a way to bridge the icebox post-punk minimalism of Gary Numan's “Cry the Clock Said” to the in-heat contemporary R&B of Trey Songz's “Red Lipstick,” you cannot do much better than “Playtime,” a placid and darkly twinkling ballad.

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