It’s All True
(Domino Records)Junior Boys were well ahead of ascendant trends. They were saturated in R&B song construction six years before “Stillness is the Move” hit, and it came from a then-current place, giving a more personal spin to the weirdo futurism in turn-of-the-century Timbaland production rather than retreating back to comfy sounds from youth. Combining an unironic soul croon with brightly sullen bedroom compositions was an indie outlier in 2003 that’s since come in from the cold. It’s All True, the Canadian duo’s fourth album, continues their maturation but still ends up slightly disappointing. Jeremy Greenspan’s voice is amazing, as always, but it glides a little too easily now. Where brittle tension once made his slickness more interesting, a track like “A Truly Happy Ending” is big verging on 80s cheesy. But it’s not really any individual misstep that makes the album underwhelm. Moment to moment, it’s actually pretty good; the individual highlight probably being “Kick the Can,” a twitchy techno dabbling that eventually lands near the cosmic excess of an LCD Soundsystem 12” (an easy sound to miss, already). It’s just that the running order’s got a very weird flow. “Itchy Fingers” opens, straining to contain too many ideas. That restless energy is immediately sapped by the wounded, crawling “Playtime,” only to be awkwardly ramped up again immediately after. By the time the album ends with the massive 10-minute dance-pop closer, “Banana Ripple,” it’s more exhaustion for the exhausted. This should probably be their moment, but the timing is somehow all wrong.