JUNIOR BOYS at the El Mocambo (464 Spadina), Saturday (August 26). $15. 416-777-1777. Rating: NNNNN
Recording a follow-up album after the kind of hype the Junior Boys got for their first release can be intimidating. Last Exit wasn't expected to go anywhere, but it ended up being the darling of the music blog community and made numerous top 10 lists around the world.
Fortunately, So This Is Goodbye is already garnering equally adoring reviews.
"I was nervous about it," Jeremy Greenspan recalls from his Hamilton home. "I knew this record wasn't going to sound exactly like the first. I want every record to be unique to us, but I also don't want them to sound like each other."
So This Is Goodbye is still very much the Junior Boys, but this time the spastic futuristic R&B beats have been stripped back and a latent disco influence has come to the foreground.
"I find there's a point with some dance music where it becomes aggressive and masculine and I just can't get into it. What I found in disco wasn't so much feminine, but almost asexual.
"The stuff I really love came after the whole fad had collapsed. Basically there was no genre - it was before house music but after disco, which I can identify with, because I don't really know where we fit.
"I like the idea of people who really loved this music and felt compelled to make it but didn't know where it fit, or if there was any world or scene left for them.
"I grew up with dance music and rave culture, and most of that world doesn't exist any more. You feel like you don't know where your place is, but you're still compelled to make music."
Despite the success they've enjoyed over the past few years, Greenspan is still living in Hamilton and apparently has no plans to relocate to more cosmopolitan surroundings any time soon. In fact, he credits the Hammer's humble rundown charm as a key influence on his music.
"I have a weird love for overlooked second-tier cities. Many of the themes of our music deal with the periphery of modern life. I find something kind of haunting and beautiful in those things that you ignore most of the time, which is why so many of the songs are about highways and open spaces.
"When I'm in a city filled with historical icons, I kind of lose interest - everything is designed to be looked at and appreciated, so there's nothing left to discover."