Junior Boys

Oct 20, 2004 at 12:00 am

If the Scissor Sisters cut the sound track to summer flings, the Junior Boys have pasted together an autumnal pastiche of singlehood. This blue-eyed soul reminiscent of Hall & Oates, led by Jeremy Greenspan and Johnny Dark, blends with pop electro into a “sad dance” category that tips its hat equally to Tahiti 80’s Wallpaper For The Soul and Wham’s Make It Big. It’s easy to write off this album as another lifestyle accessory for the über-modern metrosexual, but this painfully sweet reunion with the post-club ballad clicks and cuts its way to a new George Michael. It even spins the same tales of forbidden, late-night affairs with ex-loves, as in “Three Words,” where the punch line is not those three little words everyone waits to hear, but the more disappointed declaration: “I know you.”

“Birthday” allows listeners to overreference ’80s faves (e.g. “Isn’t that a New Order riff over the Vangelis score for Blade Runner with the lead singer of Naked Eyes?”) while nuances of Bryan Ferry’s 1994 hummer Mamouna emerge from the jaded party-crasher “Under the Sun” and the slow dancer “Three Words.” “Neon Rider” could be Art of Noise and “High Come Down” exemplifies the Postal Service-style blend of demure, apologetic laments with slightly optimistic electro that seems to span the distance between the leading man and some former objet d’amour.

Like albums that pioneered singles as MTV vids, Last Exit is full of eccentric yet broadly appealing treasures slipping through our cultural gateway; their liner notes thanking a blogging fan base is one clue of this circumvented appeal. To Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer”: Meet your mature autumn counterpart.

Roxanne Tomco writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].