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Junior Boys put spin on crooners’ sound

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Electronic outfit count Brat Pack among influences



Timothy Saccenti photo


The Junior Boys (Matt Didemus, left, and Jeremy Greenspan) play The Red Room tonight.





Among influences, the Brat Pack seem an odd name to drop, especially for an electronic group like the Junior Boys.


But in their latest, So This Is Goodbye, the Hamilton, Ont.-based duo of Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus mix nostalgia for 1950s singers like Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole with the measured space, synthesizers and melancholy of groups like Boards of Canada. Greenspan said the album aims to capture the crooners’ bittersweet songs about memories and places, and their off-the-cuff timing. For example, the Boys cover a Sinatra song from his 1959 album, No One Cares.


“(Those singers) paid attention to space and had kind of a more relaxed attitude to arrangement and production,” he said. “(I like) how effortless their music was, how little it seemed they tried.”


Greenspan said many people who don’t produce electronic music wrongly assume the machines used to create tracks automatically lend a song an air of robotic perfection. In fact, these tools are just as difficult to reign in as guitars and drums, and a key aspect of the duo’s work is trying to use the full capabilities of electronic production.


“My musical hero is Neil Young,” he said. “Even though I don’t sound anything like him, I respect his philosophy to recording: all the mistakes you make are central to the music.”


A recently released EP remixes tracks from the group’s album. Greenspan said the Boys vet prospective remixers, personally choosing folks who tinker with their tracks. These included renditions by their friends Hot Chip and Tensake, along with Carl Craig — who Greenspan says is one of few techno legends still making credible music.


“I definitely felt good about all the remixes,” said Greenspan. “In some cases, they were better than the songs they were remixing!”



rob.mcmahon@metronews.ca