Junior Boys So This Is Goodbye

[Domino; 2006]

Rating: 4/5

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

So our friends from the Great White North have decided to grace us with a second full-length visit, So This Is Goodbye. There couldn't be a more apt locale for these Boyz to hail from than Canada, as they serve up another round of music for dance floors made of ice and for heating up wintry bedrooms.

As a fan of Junior Boys' debut, Last Exit, hearing their new offering was absolutely thrilling. As good as it is, though, I can't help but be taken aback by just how similar it sounds to its predecessor. I recently took another listen to Last Exit, and it is quite apparent that Junior Boys are more concerned with refinement than overt progression. Last Exit sounds like a band creating a sonic niche for themselves, such that every timbre of every note sounds perfect, while So This Is Goodbye simply applies this template to a new fantastic string of songs.

So This Is Goodbye wastes no time, beginning with a one-two dancefloor punch of "Double Shadow" and "The Equalizer." Make no mistake, it sounds just like Last Exit, but their reinvigorated sense of pop songwriting takes their sound to new heights. This idea peaks on the maybe-too-sexy "In the Morning," which is a flurry of heavy breathing, suggestive lyrics, and fluttering synths. Things change direction a bit with "First Time," a ballad of sorts that takes advantage of the band's sound for a different sort of song. In this case, the trick absolutely works and the song proves to be a highlight. However, on "When No One Cares," the band again tinkers with their formula but with less compelling results. Stripped-down, vocal-led, and lacking a strong melody, the song takes down the momentum of the second half. This is only one dud among ten, making the album about as solid as they come.

In the end, Junior Boys' improved skills at constructing pop songs within their fantastic sonic template is more than enough to make So This Is Goodbye one of my favorite releases of 2006 so far.

1. Double Shadow
2. The Equalizer
3. First Time
4. Count Souvenirs
5. In The Morning
6. So This is Goodbye
7. Like a Child
8. Caught in a Wave
9. When No One Cares
10. FM

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