Boomkat Product Review:
A very needed welcome back to perennial percies Junior Boys with a divine serving of King-size ambient soul-bedding, turning classic cues from Florian Schneider, John Martyn, Sly Stone and Jon Hassell into a modern, digital echo of quiet storm soul.
‘Waiting Game’ is Junior Boys’ first album since ‘Big Black Coat’ (2016), and, if you ask us, their best since their debut LP ‘Last Exit’ (2004) utterly blew our minds. Seriously, we’ve never quite gotten over that first shot, and 18 years later they slip down a treat with this new set, which takes a quiet approach to recording that makes for one of their finest long players.
Using adapted Dolby NR technology - which was state-of-the-art in the early ‘90s, but usurped by computer processing - Jeremy Greenspan re-amped all his synths thru the ostensibly obsolete box (as well as guitar amps and various mic placements) in order to address contemporary music’s problem with perceptions of volume, resulting in a super canny solution that imbues ‘Waiting Game’ with what he terms its “quiet dynamism”. Trust the nine songs are tongue-tip delectable in their lowkey nuance, and mark a new high water mark of blue-eyed soul comparable with Lewis, the most sublime George Michael or Paddy McAloon joints to our ears.
The album’s romance seduces from the opening strokes of airborne lustre and oily bass on ‘Must Be All the Wrong Things’ - a sort of updated "when love breaks down" - thru to the downy, feathered FM licks and vocoder soul of its titular curtain closer. As Greenspan intended, there’s a real sense of depth perception to proceedings, everything feels super wide and layered precisely in its own space, giving a sublime tact to the sylvan stroll of ’Night Walk’ and beautifully bringing out the coy harmonic blush of ‘Thinking About You Calms Me Down’, while making the sprung funk of ‘Yes II’ really pounce from the speakers, and drawing heads fathoms into the sheets on ‘Dum Audio’ or the liquid-hipped ‘Samba on Sama.’
Le coeur s'emballe.