Junior Boys have marked their return with ‘Big Black Coat’, the first album from the pair in almost five years and maiden release on City Slang, who will release it via Inertia on 5 February 2016. The pair have released the first track off the album “Big Black Coat”,
a decidedly wintry track that sees them embracing their love of techno while simultaneously refining their soul-pop sensibilities.
Listen to "Big Black Coat" here
A strikingly energised and intuitively dynamic set of songs, ‘Big Black Coat’ is shaped by what Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus have been doing in the five years since their last release. The Ontario-based duo have racked up four albums since they formed in 1999, including their 2004 debut ‘Last Exit’ and 2006’s ‘So This Is Goodbye’, two rapturous – and rapturously received – records that were as poignant as they were impeccably produced, and prefigured the digital R&B so beloved of many an artist in the last few years. Two albums followed, the last being It's
‘All True’ in 2011.
This renewed vigour surges through Big Black Coat. It’s what carries its overall sharp mix of sounds. It’s what encouraged the pair to strip their original “complicated” version of “Love Is A Fire” down to its compellingly looped bare bones and made Greenspan experiment with vocal treatments, as he does on the idiosyncratically Auto-Tuned “Over It”.
But it’s the title track that sets the album’s scene. “Big Black Coat” gradually warms and spreads light as it builds over seven minutes, nodding to Yellow Magic Orchestra (“their records are so strange,” reckons Greenspan) and Plastikman as it goes. It also features a conceptually crucial percussion sound, made with a modular synth. “To my ears, it’s the sound of fabric swishing,” Greenspan says. “That day, I bought a coat – in fact, a big grey coat, but singing ‘big black coat’ worked better. And it really encapsulated everything I was thinking about when I made the album, so I wanted that as the title.”
Fusing disco and soul with the industrial pop and techno of Greenspan’s formative teens is what makes ‘Big Black Coat’ so distinctive and compelling. It’s the sound of Junior Boys both cutting loose and reconnecting. As Greenspan sees it: “The fact that we haven’t put out an album in a long time has been liberating, in that we haven’t been so phenomenally successful that everyone knows who we are. With this album, a lot of people will be hearing us for the first time. There’s a freedom that comes from that.”
‘Big Black Coat’ is out Friday, February 5 on City Slang through Inertia.
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