Canada has some good exports going on: beer, nuclear fuel, bacon. Ontario’s Junior Boys fall right in line with these tasty acquisitions, releasing 2006’s wistful and unadulterated So This Is Goodbye to critical acclaim and a world tour that followed suit.
Such a praise is hard to draw from with the duo’s newest release Begone Dull Care, which truthfully is fairly saddening to stomach. The tracks on the eight song album reflect more of a transitory approach and sometimes lose focus on nailing a hook, the Boys wading a bit in their keys trying to find a clear path.
Starter “Parallel Lines” employs lite Depeche Mode industrial congos, also being a bit slower in beat but still harboring a nice change in pace for an opening song. This attitude also spills into “Work”, which induces a more downtempo feel instead of the Boys’ usual upbeat tactics.
There are proud attempts for more dancefloor tracks, however. “Hazel” is most successful, and I want so badly for this to be more of the album, as it integrates a fantastic pop element, hook and feel to compliment singer Jeremy Greenspan’s breathier vocals, which finally break away from his more quieter moments to make an appearance here. “Bits and Pieces” offers synth slightly reminiscent to Sega’s Sonic 3, but Greenspan’s singing here again is lined up much sexier and stronger, evocative of last album’s “The Equalizer.”
But songs like “Sneak A Picture” and “Dull To Pause” don’t tell me anything new, and sound like rehashing from an old studio session. Closer “What It’s For” lays the album out flat as a finale, dry and abandoned. The album cohesively seems muddled, and while gems like “Bits and Pieces” seem like a step in the right direction, it’s hard to distinguish how the guys even feel about the album themselves. It seems like the Junior Boys are swimming a bit to try and regain footing in the striking element that made both Last Exit and So This Is Goodbye such gorgeous albums to strap your headphones on for.