Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Junior Boys – Banana Ripple

We like a bit of funky, brainy electropop, don’t we?


Anthony Easton: Dancing to forget, dancing as maybe an act of mourning, dancing to full and complete exhaustion, is this even dance–carefully constructed, beautifully repeating on itself, coiling and uncoiling, i understand the ripple, but not sure where the banana is.

Jer Fairall: I usually enjoy Junior Boys albums, though they tend to be so uniform that listening to them feels less like a collection of songs than a continuous mix that varies slightly every five minutes or so. The idea of a nine-minute Junior Boys single, then, hovers somewhere between redundant and pointless in that the only dissonance the listener may experience is when the song ends and more Junior Boys music fails to follow. “Banana Ripple” never makes its length noticeable, nor does it ever build to anything epic or expansive, rather it just does what Junior Boys do frequently and do well: pristine, downtempo grooves, austere synth blips and bloops, vocals tasteful and restrained enough to never upset the beguiling atmosphere of the music. I’m tempted to downgrade this out of spite for the fact that it really leaves me with nothing much else to say than “if you like Junior Boys, you’ll like this” but I do, so I do.

Alfred Soto: As I get older and my wimpophobia gets fierce enough to resist treatment, I work harder to appreciate acts like Junior Boys. The suppleness of their electronics serves a rather miserabilist ethos, and Jeremy Greenspan’s breathy tenor makes sure we don’t forget it; he sings as if frozen in astonishment, at what who can say. Nine minutes is too long for anyone to emote, but at least his castrati yelps evince a subversion they’d heretofore avoided.

Michaela Drapes: It takes serious cajones to release a single nine minutes long (even on the dance charts, you know?); the last one I can recall that came close was Death Cab for Cutie’s egomaniacal “I Will Possess You Heart” (a soul-sucking 8:25). Luckily, Junior Boys are one of the only acts, outside of LCD Soundsystem, maybe, that can pull off this advanced level of epic, brainy electropop (sorry, but what do you call this?), deftly shifting the narrative along its wavy path to a charming denouement. Look, when it’s all said and done, I’m one of those people for whom Junior Boys can do no wrong, and they absolutely do not disappoint here.

Jonathan Bradley: More vibrant than one can reasonably expect from this rather buttoned-down band, and the song even works up a Phoenix-like lope over its nine-minute length.

Matthew Harris: As “In the Morning” feels ever more menacingly perfect every time I cue it up on my iTunes, I want to like this. But I have to admit that the song’s elements, a riff potpourri pulled from deep vinyl collections, never really gel.

Zach Lyon: I remember reading somewhere, likely from a contemptuous fan, that Junior Boys make their singles so damn accessible compared to deeper album cuts that they may as well come from a different band. (The subtext was “fucking sell-outs.”) Well, I’m the audience for those ones, and I wish they’d quit it with the boring songs the fans consider authentic so I could give a damn about their albums. And it’s strictly relative that a nine-minute song is considered more accessible than the rest, but here we are. “Banana Ripple” isn’t as perfect as “In The Morning” and I’m not going to revisit it too often, but it isn’t lacking either. You get the sense that they wrote it without a plan, beginning to end, and kept realizing that the song wasn’t over. And it’s a bit thin musically, but it’s also a showcase for their always-evident talent for vocal melody.

One Response to “Junior Boys – Banana Ripple”

  1. This is an easy 8, and it makes me sad that it got the same score as that piece of crap we reviewed from Gang Gang Dance. I need to find time to blurb some shit!