Junior Boys Get Back to Their Roots for 'Big Black Coat'

Junior Boys Get Back to Their Roots for 'Big Black Coat'
Photo: Tom Weatherill
After five years, Hamilton electronic duo Junior Boys will finally unveil Big Black Coat next week. Their fifth LP — and first since 2011's It's All True — arrives at the end of a creatively fertile period for the duo.

"At the end of our last album, I met Jessy Lanza and we had started writing stuff together, doing her album [Pull My Hair Back]," vocalist and songwriter Jeremy Greenspan tells Exclaim! "At the same time, we had a lot of Junior Boys material, but it wasn't very good, so most of that was scrapped. After Jessy's album came out and was sort of a success, I started releasing dance/electronic releases and became rejuvenated about the idea of doing more Junior Boys."

The 11-track, 60-minute Big Black Coat finds Greenspan and recording partner Matt Didemus embracing the more traditionally electronic elements of their music, citing early Detroit techno as an influence.

"It's us getting back to our roots, like the energy of Detroit techno," Greenspan explains, "but making songs happen really fast and creating ideas with machines quickly. If the last two records were more about the song craft and songwriting, and taking a small amount of songs and working on them, this album was like, 'Let's do a whole bunch of songs and throw out the ones that don't work and make sure that they all get done really fast and make sure there aren't too many ideas.'"

The results find Junior Boys with their most focused and uncomplicated set of tracks to date, as Greenspan's vocal melodies, in particular, come off sharper and more compact, partly influenced by a brief meeting with Chilean producer Matias Aguayo.

"I don't know him well, but he hung out for a few days, he's a cool vocalist and he was very informal about the way he records and not very precious about it," Greenspan says.

"Our third album [2009's Begone Dull Care], which was our most polished-sounding album, all of those vocals are done with all these insane microphones. So this time, it was the complete opposite — vocal take recorded with the speakers going [and] I wasn't even using headphones. I wanted the vocals and the lyrics to reflect that feeling of the music and to be spur of the moment."

Big Black Coat arrives on February 5 via Geej Recordings/City Slang. As previously reported, Junior Boys have a lengthy tour coming up with Jessy Lanza. You can see all the upcoming dates here.