Junior Boys - Biography
Canadian electro-pop group Junior Boys crafts soaring and swooning torch songs for the 21st century. Blending synth pop, minimal techno, indie rock, disco, and contemporary R&B, the duo of Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus traffic in slick, neon grooves and emotive vocal melodies to create some of today’s most engaging electronic pop music.
Junior Boys formed in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in 1999. Initially the duo of vocalist Jeremy Greenspan and producer Johnny Dark, Dark left the group after several years of rejected demos and generally no interest. But in 2002 KIN records founder Nick Kilroy came upon a Junior Boys demo and asked Greenspan for more material. Greenspan recruited former sound engineer Matt Didemus and the newly minted duo set out to work on Junior Boys debut full-length.
Prior to the appearance of the duo’s full-length, KIN released the Birthday / Last Exit EP in 2003. Comprised of three original songs plus a remix by ambient wizard Christian Fennesz, the EP was an immediate hit with critics and fans alike. The High Come Down EP quickly followed in early 2004. Featuring three more songs and a remix by fellow Canadian producer Manitoba (now Caribou), this new EP helped spread the desire for more Junior Boys.
The group’s debut full-length saw release later in 2004. Last Exit remains an immensely successful and highly original debut. Defined by Greenspan’s slightly nasal croon, these ten songs manage to sound simultaneously timeless and thoroughly modern. The bump and bounce of FM radio hip-hop and R&B meld with minimal techno’s icy clear production, UK garage’s 2-step twitch, and the deep textures of classic ambient music on tracks like “More Than Real” and “Birthday.” With an album that appeals to both indie rock and techno fans, Junior Boys set its own bar very high with the skittering, infectious future soul of Last Exit. The group set out on extensive tours with Caribou following the album’s release.
For their sophomore effort, the duo signed with indie giant Domino Recording Company. So This Is Goodbye was released in September 2006 to rave reviews. Junior Boys streamlined its approach for this release, eschewing the jittery bounce of the debut for a gliding take on classic disco, Chicago house, and synth pop influences. Much of the record feels weightless, the narcotic throb of these slowed down club tracks showcasing Greenspan’s hypnotic croon. The singer’s voice is the centerpiece here, conjuring Sinatra (the group cover “When No One Cares”) for the electro age. Elegant, texturally innovative, and beautifully arranged, So This Is Goodbye is arguably the duo’s finest release yet.
The following year saw the group tour North America extensively and travel to Europe for several festival dates. The Dead Horse EP, featuring remixes of tracks from So This Is Goodbye by the likes of Hot Chip, Carl Craig, and Kode 9, was released in 2007 as was a live session iTunes exclusive set comprised of four songs. 2008 brought Junior Boys’ contribution to the Body Language mix series and an exclusive single No Kinda Man, both released on Get Physical Music. The same year Greenspan contributed his unique vocals to techno producer Morgan Geist’s Double Night Time album.
The Junior Boys returned in 2009 with their third full-length, Begone Dull Care. Expanding on the restrained elegance of the previous album, this set of eight songs highlights both Greenspan’s gorgeous, haunting vocals and the group’s crystalline sense of production. Again the mood is slow, a languid pulse effortlessly moves most of these songs forward. Tracks like “Parallel Lines” and “What It’s For” stand out as some of the group’s most mesmerizing songs while “Hazel” and “Dull To Pause” are playful excursions into anthemic indie funk. It’s perhaps the subtly dark, sexual menace of “Work” that best captures the spirit of the record. Overall Begone Dull Care marks another set of richly detailed, beautifully produced and arranged electronic pop music for this singular band.