Every week, 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.
Just in time for summer (we think? Come on already), Hamilton’s Junior Boys are back with It’s All True, their fourth studio album and their first since 2009’s Begone Dull Care, a deep dip into high-budget (sounding, at least) production on somewhat smaller songs. They return with a handful of some of their most exuberant tracks and strongest hooks yet, and while everything’s as full of sheen as their trajectory’s predicted, on It’s All True they’ve regained a bit of the intangible energy and unwinding intricacy, if not the recording aesthetics, that made their debut so crushworthy all those years ago.
The hyper opening of “Itchy Fingers” does more to prepare for what’s to come than does second track “Playtime,” an uneasy slowjam more indicative of the past album’s ambiance. The former, though itself sounding at very first like a lower-key number, ramps up to a spastic, plastic-pop gem, vocals more front and centre than ever. It’s also the perfect example of what Junior Boys were, and what they’ve become: predictable, but not in the dull sense. A mix of ’80s dance and commercial industrial sounds is made so effortlessly accessible at the hands of Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus.
The dark churn of “You’ll Improve Me,” the punctuated flight of the gorgeous “The Reservoir” (streaming above), and the meditative bits and beats of real standout “Kick the Can” are all stellar work, rich in subtle complexity and unsuspected beauty. In a sense, you always know what you’re going to get from Junior Boys; on It’s All True, the tried and true just happens to be at its very best.