With carefully constructed beats and a nice, easy flow, Junior Boys’ Begone Dull Care isn’t particularly stacking up the critical accolades but it is a decent ambient/electronica album for the Ontario duo.
The “problem,” it seems, with Begone Dull Care, released in April of 2009, is that it’s not 2006’s So This Is Goodbye and that there’s no “In the Morning.” Have a cry, then. As great as that record was, the evolution of art is necessary (even if it is evil) and the Junior Boys prove that production is the thing with this follow-up.
If there was a fact of the matter here, it would be that Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus want to gear down and take a soft, fuzzy journey through that haze that lurks between dance and ambient music. Begone Dull Care is what lurks in that fog and it isn’t an album that moves or struts or races through the veins. It’s an album that sits, breathes.
So what do you do with an album that just sits there?
For starters, you soak it in. Junior Boys offer a lot of substance to soak in, surprisingly, and each beat and bleep is carefully and meticulously prepared. There’s a lot of purpose here, even if the results are somewhat murky, and that purpose helps showcase Greenspan and Didemus as more than just makers of Starbucks soundtracks for the laptop set.
Indeed, if this record proves anything by being a “lesser” work than So This Is Goodbye it would be that Junior Boys are honing and evolving their craft at an alarming rate. Greenspan and Didemus are not just careful with the production of Begone Dull Care; they are downright diabolical about it.
Take the way a song like “Dull to Pause” pours into existence as an example. Yes, that is a faint banjo you hear and, yes, JB does build on that loop with a majestic bit of sound that pulls a melody out of thin air. Listen to how each part of the song loops in, right on time, and how the beat’s consistency never overwhelms the track. Vocals are added, too, and beauty is born.