This Junior Boys article was written by Dan Martin, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Macon Oxley.

‘Big Black Coat’ is a perfect title for this album as Junior Boys engulf you in their large oversized coat of seductive and bittersweet synth tracks. It genuinely feels as if you’re on a night out in Detroit circa 1979 where techno music was slowly kicking off, and disco and krautrock just got together and had a baby.

Junior Boys are a Canadian duo and they have continually released great electronic albums for more than a decade, and should deserve more credit than they actually receive. It has been five years since ‘It’s All True’ and Jeremy Greenspan has been busy with himself assisting other fellow Canadians like electronic maestro Caribou and Jessy Lanza. His assistance it seems has definitely flavoured Big Black Coat with some obvious influences of Yellow Magic Orchestra, plastic soul and early Prince.

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At times Junior Boys invite you to a small intimate performance where Greenspan croons to you mournfully on ‘No One’s Business’ and ‘Baby Don’t Hurt Me’. He’s almost pleading on these tracks, but then there are tracks where you legitimately want to dance under the mirror ball like the upbeat R&B track, ‘Baby Give Up On It’ – even if it is about rejection.

The album is romantically charged like on the punchy ballad ‘Over it’ and ‘You Say That’ where Greenspan is called by his lover “the dirty one” but it’s implied as a ruined sanctuary rather than a haven where he coughs abruptly at the end. These emotions are also evident in the gorgeous 1978 Bobby Caldwell cover ‘What You Won’t Do for Love’ where Greenspan’s simple falsetto sparkles up from a bottle of arpeggio bleeps, which could easily pass as a Depeche Mode track had they pursued techno.

It’s a gripping forlorn narrative throughout the album – like experiencing a tough break up and yet you’re feeling optimistic of finding someone new in the club, but really you’re still dancing with tears in your eyes. The album may be prone to old pastiches, but that isn’t a bad thing, as they juggle these styles with grandeur and put a spin on it like the title track. It’s a mesh of all the various influences built up thus far and merges them into a seven-minute showstopper. “Everyone wants to be in your big black coat” he echoes, and the fact of the matter is we all do.

‘Big Black Coat’ is out now via City Slang.

The Junior Boys 'Big Black Coat' - ALBUM REVIEW

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