HigterFrequency DISK REVIEW




Label : Domino / Hostess / Cat No. : WIGCD178
Format : Original CD / Released : 01/06/2006
Style : Synth-pop

Putting in the disc for the first time you can be forgiven for wondering if you accidentally grabbed a Hot Hits of the 80’s CD by mistake. That is if it wasn’t for the deliberately sparse and sophisticated programming that you’ll notice throughout “So This Is Goodbye”. A perfect example of this is ‘Double Shadow’ which is just as well suited for that long train trip as it is for getting down and dirty out on the town on a Saturday night. The handclaps, the reverb and the bouncy bassline all form a nice little amalgamation that will have your metatarsals tapping inside your boots.

‘The Equalizer’ presents just as much handclap action but this time Jeremy Greenspan’s seductive vocal tone is brought into a more central role rather than being just another sample. To get the best picture of ‘First Time’ it is best to picture Ben Gibbard of the Postal Service making love to a midi keyboard and occasionally getting his output cable caught in the flange, all while a church choir inquisitively watches on.

In ‘Count Souvenirs’ Greenspan fully explores the androgynous aspect of his voice which intertwines perfectly with both the dirty bassline and the contrasting stirring soft pads. While listening to ‘In The Morning’ all public displays of foot stomping, raised hand clapping, beat boxing and singing into drink bottles will be excused. A definite highlight of the album with its plucked bass that appears to come directly from the school of the Greenskeepers and their comical yet classic ‘Lotion’.

The title track of the album is a perfect summary of the whole Junior Boys’ experience. The tightly produced reductionist approach and a kick that punches you in the left eye socket like a six foot man wearing fishnets and a Cyndi Lauper tshirt. While you lay on the ground trying to recover from the blow Greenspan stands above you and croons away with the painful yet dreamy lyrics. This track really has everything and don’t worry even the handclaps make an appearance although this time slightly distorted.

‘Like A Child’ provides a surprising change of pace with its subtle breakbeat stylings. However, the tantalizing vocals and robust bass dropping in and out for a quick visit ground it all in the “So This Is Goodbye” style. ‘Caught In A Wave’ then manages to take you surprisingly deep, the only glimpses of the surface coming through more of those patented heartfelt vocals.

Time to get the tissue box out for ‘When No One Cares’, a fantastic tribute to the Frank Sinatra original as is this entire album with many of the song titles being inspired by the lyrics. Simple, haunting, effective. From here ‘FM’ gently winds things down on this truly classy ten-track offering. Stuck somewhere between this melancholic and joyful this final number will have you feeling a wide range of emotions that may not have been stirred by music in quite sometime.

“So This Is Goodbye”, with its stripped back approach to synth-pop, once again makes it cool to be in love with the 80’s. Jeremy Greenspan belts out the all important vocal although it is debatable whether the lyrics themselves play an integral role. Combined with the sublimely produced music, Greenspan’s voice is enough to get the tears flowing or the facial muscles smiling regardless of what it is he is actually saying. You can now proudly pull your socks back up towards your knees, tease your hair and strap on the roller-skates because the Junior Boys are back in town. (Nick Lawrence)

01. Double Shadow
02. The Equalizer
03. First Time
04. Count Souvenirs
05. In the Morning
06. So This Is Goodbye
07. Like a Child
08. Caught in a Wave
09. When No One Cares
10. FM

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