On February 26th Junior Boys came to play in the beautiful Babel club in Malmö – an old building the local people use to call ‘Party church’, since it is actually a former church converted into a fancy but cosy nightclub with a big stage and a nice sound surrounding…
The opening of the night made Jessy Lanza, the uprising Canadian artist originate from the same city as Junior Boys (Hamilton, Ontario), supported by her drummer mate Tori Tizzard. Jessy performed songs from her last 2013 album Pull My Hair Back released under the label Hyperdub. She dropped samples and atmospheres on her keyboard while singing to it with her angel-like voice that she often distorted by delays and pitch-downs. Tori Tizzard was just perfectly underlining it altogether with her piercing drums. She finished by letting us the taste of the bouncing Shangaan electro inspired track “It means I love you”, which will appear on the new album “Oh No” that is about to be released this year via Hyperdub again.
Right after Jessy Lanza arrived the highlight of the night, Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus, the members of Junior Boys, who showed us all their accumulated experience and this slight but perceptible change to a more raw and closer to clubby electronic sound that they achieved in their new album, Big Black Coat, released this year on City Slang, a record label based in Berlin.
Even so, the voice of Jeremy continues sounding closer to a songwriter one, a characteristic that puts the group in this rare category of musicians that go and come from one style to another with amazing ease.
The show started with a long and deep atmosphere, which created an ambience of mystery in the audience about what was going to happen, and right after that they stir themselves into action and there was no moment to rest until the end of the show.
Junior Boys presented their last album almost in its entirety and we could see the evolution of their sound in more than 15 tracks. Some of the highlights should be underlined, which were some remarkable tracks such as “Baby Give Up On It”, a p-funk and glitch disco influenced piece that sounds pretty delicate in the live version, “Over It”, a pure exercise of synth pop with a pitch down in the singing of Jeremy, a characteristic of their music never heard before.
There was the raw Detroit Techno inspiration in “Love Is A Fire”, a track directly influenced by the likes of Richie Hawtin (through his alias Plastikman) or the Techno pioneer Robert Hood. Another great track we heard that night was “And It’s Forever”, a song with a contundent Chicago House percussion line, a vocal sample going through almost all the track and some acid house synths. Some details of the arrangement reminded us of the most dynamic Caribou – but with the unique touch of these guys.
They also played some tracks from their previous works, like “In The Morning” from their album So This Is Goodbye released in 2007, that delighted the most loyal audience of their prior pop sound.
In the last part of the show, Jeremy dared to play some keyboard while he was singing tracks like the pop-influenced “C’mon Baby” or the homonymous “Big Black Coat”, which is also the title of the new album, to finish leaving us with a big smile on our faces and showing us that if they had leaved for a while, they definitely have returned to stay.