Junior Boys Last Exit

[Kin; 2004]

Styles: electro-pop, ’80s revival, melodic techno
Others: New Order, Underworld

On Junior Boys' website, there is a line that states that Last Exit will reinvent electronic pop in the same way that Luomo's Vocal City reinvented house music. That's a tall order for music that essentially sounds like New Order for 2004, but the point is well taken. Last Exit is a unique album that takes a decade's worth of electronic music and injects soulful vocals for an overall enjoyable and satisfying release.

Junior Boys have made a name for themselves over the last year on the upstart KIN record label. These three Canadians released two singles before beginning work on their full length. While micro-house has dominated electronic music in the last few years, Junior Boys thankfully steer clear of complex skittering beats on Last Exit. Instead, '80s pop and the glossy production of Timbaland seem to be big influences here. What keeps Last Exit grounded is the laid-back approach to the vocals and beats. The music is never hard or pumping. The subtle vocals and air-y beats make this album perfect for late nights without being overtly "chill."

Last Exit succeeds surprisingly because of its shrewdness. Junior Boys could have mimicked countless micro house tracks and sang over them. Instead, the group culled together the quieter, melodic moments of Underworld, injected some '80s pop, some garage-y production techniques, and came up with a quaint collection of ten tracks.

While I can't vouch and say this is reinventing anything in electronic music, Last Exit is an enjoyable release that makes you wonder why someone didn't follow this formula earlier. It's shrewd-pop, something I imagine we'll be seeing a lot more of in the next few years.

1. More Than Real
2. Bellona
3. High Come Down
4. Last Exit
5. Neon Rider
6. Birthday
7. Under The Sun
8. Three Words
9. Teach Me How To Fight
10. When I'm Not Around
11. 35 In The Shade

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