Junior Boys - Dead Horse EP

Format: CD
Label: Domino Records
Year: 2007
Origin: Hamilton, Ontario
Genre: electronic
Value of Original Title: 
Make Inquiry/purchase: email ryder@robertwilliston.com
Release Type: Albums
Websites:  No


Track Name
In The Morning (Hot Chip Remix)
FM (Tensnake Remix)
Like a Child (Carl Craig Remix)
Double Shadow (Kode 9 Remix)
FM (Marsen Jules Remix)



Dead Horse EP


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In an interview last autumn, Jeremy Greenspan recalled how the Junior Boys were originally built to appeal to the particular tastes of a good friend. The band's initial jumpstart, he said, came from the simple notion to note the co-ordinates of that friend's favorite sounds and then try to make music that felt like it was somehow at the center of them all. As band manifestos go, it's as reasonable as any other; it's more interesting to be adored by one than liked by many.

Informed in equal breaths by Japan, Scritti Politti, Depeche Mode, and Frank Sinatra, their second record-- last year's striking So This Is Goodbye-- had similarly refined co-ordinates. But beyond its melodies and sounds, something extra in its craft hinted at the makers' own studious ears; reflected in those 10 songs were the countless nights the duo spent discovering, shaping and re-assessing their own personal aesthetics.

Dead Horse is So This Is Goodbye's remix EP, and it lends further weight to the notion that Junior Boys are one of those rare bands that are in continuous conversation with the musical world around them. In contrast to most remix EPs, which are typically slapdash paste jobs highlighted by the gratuitous presence of a) Previously unknown labelmates, b) Significant others, or c) Serial remix whores (you know who you are), Dead Horse feels well thought -out, or even, depending on how generous you feel, lovingly arranged.

Five tracks feature here, and span across a nicely disparate group of remixers. Saddled with headline status, Hot Chip elect to slap a pair of oversized neon sunglasses on "In The Morning" by obscuring it in a scattershot barrage of toy sounds and woozy synth leads. Surprisingly, their goofiness offsets the song's icy timbres nicely-- maybe it's a point-counterpoint thing. Dancefloor translations from Tensnake and Carl Craig follow; an epic and fantastically dark recut of "Like A Child", Craig's remix has already generated loads of blog love, but it's Tensnake's "FM" that really stands out. Not as much as a remix as a dance-ready refit of the previously beatless closer "FM", it's a marvelously realized port of the Junior Boys' lullaby into Booka Shade/DJ T territory. Elsewhere, longtime friend Kode9 reps for the dubstep contingent with a virtually unrecognizable take on album opener "Double Shadow" (on which only the closest scrutiny uncovers traces of the source material), and the massively underrated ambient/noise artist Marsen Jules rounds things out by reclaiming "FM" for five minutes of echo chamber black magic.

Really, there's not much here to dislike. If the Junior Boys' relative lack of singles and Dead Horse's self-effacing title is anything to go on, they've probably got some reservations about all the additional material that artists are expected to supplement and promote a record with. Fortunately, Dead Horse hardly constitutes a hit to their quality control; if anything, it reminds us that sometimes greatness involves knowing when to lie back and listen. Most artists would do well to have these ears.
-Mark Pytlik, April 11, 2007


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