Every Tuesday, Torontoist scours record store shelves in search of the city’s most notable new releases and brings you the best—or sometimes just the biggest—of what we’ve heard in Sound Advice.
Could it be that Junior Boys and their atmospheric chill are trying to find a home in this city’s summer-craving heart? Loved harder in further reaches of the globe-via-blog than in their own stomping grounds (which, if we must admit, are technically in Hamilton), the Polaris- and Grammy-nominated duo return today with Begone Dull Care, out on Domino Records.
Named after the Norman McLaren animated short (which was set to the music of Oscar Peterson), the pair’s third album succeeds at honouring the texture, culture, and layers of the celebrated Canadian director and animator. The Boys’ (vocalist Jeremy Greenspan and programmer Matt Didemus) familiar ’80s-haze and slow-jam smoothness prevail once again on Begone Dull Care, but a subtle new brightness finds room to shine through the trademark restrained density, too; one can certainly draw similarities between the starker, darker parts of the namesake film and the music of Junior Boys past, but like the intricate blasts of oranges and reds in the animation, the deliberately paced and sparingly used warmth and color shine through on the record.
“Dull to Pause” could be one of the prettiest (and yes, pausing) musical moments to come from a Toronto release—or any release—so far this year, and it is a testament to the skilled underlying pop craft always present in songs that otherwise get pegged as minimalist. Delicate counter-rhythms are used for an understated swell-and-fade in the gorgeous album closer “What It’s For” and effectively provide Begone Dull Care with an overall complexity that warrants repeat listens on your own quiet time.
To give the new album a listen in a group setting, catch Junior Boys at one (or both!) of their shows at the Mod Club this Saturday, March 28 (all ages) and/or Sunday, March 29.