After two albums of spiky, echoing post-punk revivalism of the finest kind, recorded at a slow pace over long stretches, the Montreal band Corridor had to change their way of working on their third album, Junior. After signing with Sub Pop early in 2019, they were told that to have an album come out before the end of the year, masters needed to be ready for pressing in a couple months' time. After quickly writing songs, they headed into the studio for a month to get them on tape. Ironically, Junior is the album where the band graduate from a scrappy, happily undercooked sound to something bigger. Fortunately, they don't sacrifice any hookiness in the process, nor do they pave over their idiosyncrasies. The songs are still tightly wound and jab like a quick-handed boxer, only this time they boom out of the speakers with a power and drive that was in short supply in the past. The chief songwriters, Jonathan Robert and Dominic Berthiaume, didn't let the short turnaround time cramp their style; every song has a jagged hook, a crystal-cut guitar line, or a sparkling melody that hits hard and sticks. The up-tempo tracks like "Domino" and "Goldie" are sweaty, pulsing indie rock powered by thrumming bass lines, and Robert's insistent vocals and the jangling mid-tempo songs (the title track and "Agent double") have a beguiling softness hidden beneath the twisted guitar interplay and wiry rhythms thanks to the lovely vocal harmonies and subtle synths. Not only do Corridor show mastery of those two tempos, they get fancy on the last song, "Bang," and let loose with an epic end-of-album ballad that comes complete with Mellotron and a huge heart-tugging crescendo. This track shows just how much the band have grown sonically on Junior; they wouldn't have been able to sound this huge in the past, and they are able to do it here convincingly. The band and producer/keyboardist Emmanuel Ethier work to give the songs special touches -- like the Speed Racer samples on "Pow" -- while making sure the bones of each tune are solid and exciting. The team do a wonderful job constructing a sound, the band play everything with effervescence, and the songs are built to last. Their earlier recordings were all top-notch indie rock, worthy of all the Omni comparisons that were flung their way. Junior is Corridor's coming-of-age party, and now Omni might have to work a little harder to keep up with them.
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra