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Last Exit

Junior Boys
Last Exit
(Kin Industries)

The Junior Boys have sort of stormed onto the scene in the past year or so with a nicely-done EP release and now this 10 track full-length chock full of electronic-pop goodness. Everything old is new again as the trio puts a slightly new spin on euro-sounding synthpop that bubbles with effervescence and flows by so smoothly that it's hard to find any offense with it.

The group drops one of their most epic tracks on the opener of "More Than Real," and at nearly 7 minutes the track probably won't find its way into heavy rotation anywhere too soon. The beats are programmed in an unobtrusive way and everything pops with a crispness that recalls work by Ellen Allien and other new minimal electronic producers while breathy vocals float over the top and ache at just the right times. The joy continues on "Bellona" and it's another 5 minutes of simple programmed melodies and beats that throb and drop out at just the right moments.

Your tolerance level for the group will probably mostly have to do with how well you can stand the rather light vocal stylings and the sometimes lighter-electronics programming. Even though "High Come Down" features some excellent skittery rhythm programming, synths bubble softly and vocals veer dangerously close to soft R&B. The overlong "Under The Sun" is one of the worst offenders, dropping things back to a very retro feel with dark, slightly warbling synths and progressing so slowly that you wonder if things will ever change.

The group is at their best in their Depeche Mode versus Kraftwerk state, as on the minimal but beautiful "Teach Me How To Fight." The track track slithers along with subtle vocals and quiet beats before blossoming during the choruses with layers of warm pad washes. When they're on, it's like everything you liked about 80s synthpop updated for the new century and even when they're off it's still quite passable. 5 years ago I probably would have called this stuff cheesy, but now I find myself enamored.

Rating: 7.5