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Junior Boys - Last Exit

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Artist: Junior Boys

Album: Last Exit

Label: KIN

Review date: Apr. 25, 2004

A midnight drive in your private limousine, through the rain-soaked city: neon lights reflect off the tinted windows and liquid patterns play upon the dashboard and the lap of your sweetheart beside you. In the hopelessly expensive stereo system, providing the soundtrack for this Don DeLillo-esque scene, is the wondrously suave electro pop of Birthday by Junior Boys.

Seemingly arriving from nowhere (Ontario, actually), last year’s twin EPs Birthday and High Come Down garnered much critical praise from all quarters, but the Junior Boys remain relatively unknown, still a synthetic star in the ascendancy. If there is any justice, Last Exit will change all that.

On this their debut long player, head honcho Jeremy Greenspan, along with Matt Didemus and Johnny Dark, sustain their winning combination of Timbaland beat-craft and pop constructions a la David Sylvian and New Order. It helps that at the heart of this album beat four songs, "High Come Down", "Last Exit", "Under the Sun" and "Birthday," that are all lifted from those aforementioned EPs and already bona fide classics. "Under the Sun" especially shines, its grinding disco groove and industrial pulse graced by a mantra-like, determined vocal refrain. Elsewhere, a new song and another highlight, "Teach Me How To Fight," is cold refinement personified, spectral and glacial and yet full of hope and desire, with Greenspan’s breathy vocals seemingly intent on something dangerously serious or sexy (or both).

There is certainly a distinct retrospective feel to the whole album, but any nostalgia manages to elude any fixed location in either time or place – although Visage’s “Fade To Grey” did manage to worm its way into my head on more than one occasion. Last Exit is a truly excellent album, one of the best of 2004 so far. But what is truly exciting is the promise Last Exit holds for the future – for that of the Junior Boys themselves and the countless others it is sure to inspire.

By Spencer Grady

Other Reviews of Junior Boys

Birthday/Last Exit EP

So This Is Goodbye

Dead Horse

Body Language Six

Begone Dull Care

It’s All True

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