Junior Boys: Live Last Night

junior boys

Live Last Night

Think of Junior Boys as a sort the 21st century model of Hall and Oates. The Canadian duo of Jeremy Greenspan (Hall) and Matt Didemus (Oates) -- with touring drummer Dave Foster in, uh, the role of the drummer in the "Private Eyes" video -- plays sometimes-sappy but usually-irresistible soul-pop tunes that are built on layers of carefully crafted electronic sounds but are most memorable for the easy beats and Greenspan's inviting voice. The Junior Boys performance last night at the Black Cat at times threatened to turn into an all-out dance party, but the band instead let the beats simply percolate, so there was certainly more swaying than sweating in the audience.

(Read the rest of the review after the jump.)

That restraint is what sets Junior Boys apart from much of their indie-electronic brethren. Whereas many bands are happy to offer up a simple, pulsing house beat and some flashing lights, the Junior Boys spend more time on songcraft. (Although they do have a neon yellow "JUNIOR BOYS" sign that hangs above them when they play.) "Parallel Lines" was a sultry, slow-builder, picking up steam only to let it off as Didemus twiddled his knobs and Greenspan did his breathy cooing. "Work" was similarly suited for the chill out room instead of the main dance floor, but still with a healthy dose of groove.

Set closer "In the Morning" got the biggest reaction from the crowd and for good reason -- it's the band's best tune, and one of the best songs by any band from the past couple years. It has a cinematic, '80s vibe -- actually, it would sound perfect in the next "Grand Theft Auto" commercial -- and its doe-eyed sentimentality ("Girl the night's not over/We're not getting older") perfectly captures the band's aesthetic.

-- DAVID MALITZ

By David Malitz |  May 6, 2009; 2:24 PM ET Live Last Night
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