Under Review

Junior Boys

Big Black Coat

City Slang; 05/02/2016

Corbin Pawer

The landscape of electronic music has been reimagined in the ten years since Junior Boys released the Polaris Music Prize nominated So This Is Goodbye. Electronic music has become a dominant genre within popular music, and although it encompasses many sub-genres, calling music “electronic” doesn’t mean very much.

After releasing It’s All True in 2011, Jeremy Greenspan and Matthew Didemus have spent the past five years involved in various other studio projects. This includes Greenspan’s production on Jessy Lanza’s excellent debut, Pull My Hair Back. The duo’s return, Big Black Coat, operates as a fusion of many genres making up electronic music. This includes elements of arpeggiated techno, laid-back house, funk, and bedroom pop. At its best moments, Big Black Coat blends these elements together with perfect balance.

Take album standouts “Baby Give Up On It” and “No One’s Business” for example. The filtered synths and grooving bass give these two songs a full funky sound. The thumping “What You Won’t Do For Love” has a hypnotic pulse that would fill a dance floor, but also has an ambience to it that sounds just as good on a pair of headphones. There are instances where Junior Boys have potential pop songs on their hands. “Over It” feels like it is going to explode into a big hooky chorus at any moment. It never does however, and this restraint is exemplary of Junior Boys experience in their field.

The album ends with the anti-climatic title track. It begins as a promising R&B tinged song with glitchy drums, but it ends with what sounds like an awkward extended remix, only this is the original mix. Nonetheless, as a whole Big Black Coat is easy to relax with (“No One’s Business”), dance to (“M & P”), and may even invite introspective thoughts about failed relationships (“You Say That”). It doesn’t push many boundaries, nor does it intend to. Instead it suggests one of the best rationales for Electronic music: tightly produced sonic landscapes. Big Black Coat accomplishes this with glossy production, and strong songwriting. It is an authentic culmination from these last five years in electronic music. It means something.