junior boys – so this is goodbye

spring time, you’re gonna wish that we were friends, then we’d talk, you’ll never feel so sure again

ah, the days of depeche mode. i will be completely honest. this is one album i bought on the basis that it was very well reviewed by pitchfork. just how great it turned out to be is a credit to the band itself.

so, the link to depeche mode. it’s hard to escape. a couple of songs in particular feel as though they might well have been from their early 1990s catalogue. take the slightly brooding effort of first time, which lyrically, as a minimum, could also have been shot from the mind of martin gore. it is followed directly by count souvenirs which, if not influenced directly, strikes awfully close to the core. as does the eponymous song a little further in. it’s a kind of traditional electronica that doesn’t sound of the 2000s. yet it doesn’t really specifically sound of any other time either (though in reality it has to be since the advent of synthetic music).

the main reason i know the work of depeche mode is thanks to my sister, who went through a phase in the late 1990s and collected pretty much every release. when we shared house together in canberra between 2000 and 2003, their music was a kind of retrospective soundtrack that gave bizarre meaning to our lives.

for some reason, the main concept that sticks in my head from then is cowhide culture, a description used by someone to describe the scene they had entered. they seemed, at their peak, to be absorbed in the somewhat underground kinky subcultures of central europe. this was amazing for such a popular band, or perhaps a signifier of how liberal europe was compared to places like the uk and the us.

and maybe it’s not being fair to junior boys to rely on the fairly strong comparison. their music stands perfectly well on its own. it’s a great blend of electronic and pop, with excellent vocals that aren’t always there for music like this. the number of songs on this album that are fully and independently memorable is remarkable. each one an engaging study in song creation.

i suspect my body attempts to reject music like this in some ways. it never stops me listening to it with a kind of glee. how does one explain enjoying something that seems so counterintuitive? i’ve never been a dancer. i’ve never been into clubbing. if i’m anywhere near electronica, it’s not of this variety. yet this music is evidence that even the staunchest of resisters can’t help but be invaded.

you can’t believe a love like hers could come from someone new

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