Big Black Coat

Album Review of Big Black Coat by Junior Boys.

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Big Black Coat

Junior Boys

Big Black Coat by Junior Boys

Release Date: Feb 5, 2016
Record label: City Slang
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Club/Dance, Indie Electronic

77 Music Critic Score
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Big Black Coat - Very Good, Based on 13 Critics

AllMusic - 90
Based on rating 9/10
90

There was a point between the release of It's All True and Big Black Coat when Junior Boys seemed finished. Talk of a planned EP was heard in 2012. Nothing surfaced. Years passed. All along, Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus were succeeding with individual pursuits. Greenspan was working closely ….

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Mixmag - 90
Based on rating 9/10
90

No matter what you do in life, the act of repetition can suck the fun out of anything – even making music.By 2011, after a succession of albums that stirred together dancefloor nous, pop sensibility and a healthy dollop of melancholy, Junior Boys had reached that point. So Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus decided to take a sabbatical – from each other, at least.Greenspan hooked up with his pal Dan 'Caribou/Daphni' Snaith for a clutch of well-received EPs on Jiaolong, and produced other artists. Didemus moved to Berlin and started his own label.

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Resident Advisor - 84
Based on rating 4.2/5
84

Take a moment to consider how Jeremy Greenspan and Matthew Didemus rolled out Big Black Coat, their fifth studio album as Junior Boys. It had been half a decade since their previous full-length, It's All True, and two years since Pull My Hair Back, Jessy Lanza's breakthrough debut album, which Greenspan helped write and produce. There was reason to believe Junior Boys were no more, giving them the perfect stage for an over-the-top comeback.

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The Guardian - 80
Based on rating 4/5
80

Along with Jessy Lanza and Dan Snaith (Caribou), the Junior Boys make up a triptych of Hamilton, Ontario music acts who have given the city a reputation for interesting electronic acts and added a softness to contrast with its steelmaking past. On their first album in five years, the Junior Boys carry on their love affair with dance music and electronica, shifting between edgy Chicago house (M&P), poppy acid (And It’s Forever), sultry electro (C’Mon Baby) and R&B (Love Is a Fire). They say they’ve been rejuvenated after working with Lanza on her Hyperdub albums, and you can tell – he songs here have rawness and energy.

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Pitchfork - 80
Based on rating 8.0/10
80

For well over a decade now, Ontario-based duo Junior Boys have released consistently stellar, deeply personal records, balanced perfectly between the body and the mind. In the five years since their excellent fourth studio album, It's All True, they've moved past the introverted electro-pop of their previous records into territory that feels both fresh and pointedly familiar. On Big Black Coat, you hear some mid-era Kraftwerk, a big debt to Detroit techno, that sweet spot in the mid-'70s when krautrock met disco, several of Arthur Russell's many house aliases, and even Prince circa Controversy.

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Exclaim - 80
Based on rating 8/10
80

Just because you haven't heard from Junior Boys in four and a half years doesn't mean you haven't heard them. Since the release of 2011's It's All True, the duo of Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus have kept their hands in a multitude of projects, both releasing solo material while the former worked on albums for Jessy Lanza and Caribou. This may be why Big Black Coat, their fifth LP, sounds so ambitious.Over 11 tracks and 50 minutes, the Hamilton duo create compact and unhurried works that reflect the musical simplicity and approachable feel found on their 2004 debut, Last Exit.

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Drowned In Sound - 80
Based on rating 8/10
80

The winter months can be a miserable time. For those of us unlucky enough to live more than a stone’s throw from the equator, they mean short (sometimes even nonexistent) days, grey skies, storms, floods, snow, that awful ice that just looks like a bit of snow but has the slippery underfoot consistency of a slapstick banana skin… the list goes on. But there’s also a brighter side to winter.

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Consequence of Sound - 72
Based on rating B
72

When music becomes a project instead of a passion, it’s time to take a break. Canadian electronic duo Junior Boys embrace that with wide arms on their fifth album, Big Black Coat, where they return harsher than ever. In fact, developing tough skin was a given. In the five-year gap between 2011’s It’s All True and this year’s LP, Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus pursued solo endeavors.

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Spin - 70
Based on rating 7/10
70

Junior Boys — the Canadian duo of Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus — rose to prominence in the mid-’00s on a then-unheard of proposition: soul music for indie loners. Their minimal brand of laptop-tinged R&B (or funk-inflected synth-pop, depending on how you mentally framed it) was intimate, sure, but it wasn’t made to soundtrack intimate moments, at least not in the Aziz Ansari sense. They set the blueprint for PBR&B before PBR was even totally a thing, clearing the way for the blue-hearted soul of How to Dress Well in 2010, Autre ne Veut in 2013, and even Porches earlier this year.

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PopMatters - 60
Based on rating 6/10
60

A half-decade has passed since the last Junior Boys album, It’s All True (2011). During that time, the band’s Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus engaged in side projects, production work, basically the things members of veteran bands busy themselves with during long breaks between albums. Also during that time, the kind of ‘80s-influenced indie synth-pop Junior Boys make has become even more popular and even more mainstream.While Junior Boys could have taken this development as a cue to take a hard left turn into something a bit more edgy, a bit less expected, and a bit less ‘80s-influenced synth-pop, they have not.

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musicOMH.com - 60
Based on rating 3
60

With 2011’s It’s All True, Ontario’s Junior Boys finally delivered on the promise they’d been hinting at for years. Formed as far back as 1999, songwriter Jeremy Greenspan and engineer Matthew Didemus developed their craft slowly and only really hit their stride with their fourth album. A playful, highly engaging collection of lithe, funky electro-pop infused with occasional melancholy, it also included by some distance the best track of their career in the quietly epic, nine minutes of joyfulness of Banana Ripple.

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NOW Magazine
Their review was positive

Sometimes a break is just what a band needs to rediscover itself. In the five years since Junior Boys’ last album, Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus made lives for themselves outside of their partnership, and that’s helped them reconnect with their particular exploration of the friction between new wave and R&B. A new urgency and immediacy provide welcome counterpoint to the reserved Canadian introspection that still characterizes their songs.

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The Line of Best Fit
Their review was generally favourable

During the past five years since Jeremy Greenspan and Matthew Didemus last released an album - 2011s It’s All True - dancefloor intended electro geek-pop has become a tried and tested formula; Soft Metals, LCD Soundsystem, Caribou, Chromatics and M83 have all proved the sound is friendly to the long playing format, up to and during their absence. Junior Boys can arguably claim to being one of the first acts to fuse oblique pop, glitch and RnB. It’s a template they’ve closely adhered to since their 2004 debut Last Exit, and one which has become so familiar to anything with their names attached.

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