Monday, December 26, 2011

1.) It's All True - Junior Boys (Top 20 Albums of 2011)

It’s All True
Junior Boys
Domino Records.

The year’s best record turns out to be 2011’s biggest surprise as well. Playing follow-up to the lackluster Begone Dull Care – a record I criticized enough right hereIt’s All True had the odious decoration of being the first Junior Boys release I wasn’t particularly excited to hear. The advanced streaming of ‘Banana Ripple’ and ‘EP’ had failed to grab my interest, while the duo’s performance in Ottawa a week before the LP’s release, impressive though it was, didn’t have me racing for the album leak when I got home.

Instead I opted to cover It’s All True for CokeMachineGlow because, swamped in the responsibilities of a new job, I was eager to take on a band whose catalog I was familiar with. But once I’d heard ‘Playtime’, an extended but lush slow-jam ballsy enough to drop so awkwardly early in the album’s sequencing, I knew I’d stumbled upon more than an easy assignment. If ‘You’ll Improve Me’ regains their bubbly pop single aesthetic effortlessly, ‘Kick The Can’ finds Junior Boys flirting with the progressive territory of label and tour-mate Four Tet.

And even if Greenspan has grown increasingly confident in his crooning, which places added emphasis on the material’s verse/chorus approach, It’s All True retains the same isolated strains that marked the first two Junior Boys records. No matter how breezily ‘A Truly Happy Ending’ and ‘Itchy Fingers’ seem to skip along, they’re intensified by chilling undercurrents that crystallize Greenspan’s yearning into something at once static but spontaneous.  

So why then is Junior Boys’ fourth full-length still a surprise candidate for album of the year six months after first relishing in its brilliance? In short, It’s All True isn’t a statement record. It bears no heavy premise or curious backstory. It promises no change in sonic approach and boasts no interesting influences. Hands tied, Domino Records promoted it as 'a new Junior Boys record' and that’s precisely what It’s All True is. And in the aftermath of hype and adoration, it just might be their best.

1 comment:

You Are My Symphonic said...

What a huge surprise! I like how you thought it would be an easy assignment but then it destroyed you. This song has nailed me to the wall. It keeps shifting through different avenues and verse/chorus progressions. At the top of the list!