If pop music is indeed a kaleidoscope and you are making pop music, then your work will inevitably bend and blend, creating something new while touching something that came before. The best parts of the fourth album from Canadian duo Junior Boys come from those over-folds of history — specifically synth-pop history — and are enough to compensate for the disc’s occasional stagnation.
“It’s All True” provides stylish, brooding updates on a wide variety of keyboard-driven music, but when Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus overlap into the sashaying sound of ABC’s iconic 1982 debut “The Lexicon of Love” on songs like “You’ll Improve Me” and “A Truly Happy Ending,” they sound as delectable as anything you’re going to find on the radio during the long, hot summer to come.
Using an age-old formula, the Boys pair bittersweet, cynical lyrics (“It’s All True” is very much an end-of-a-relationship record) with percolating beats and sumptuous tones. “Second Chance” is a slow-burn hip shaker punctuated by Greenspan’s declaration that “nothing ever lasts.” The aforementioned “Happy Ending” makes the argument (over a bubbly synth river) that one doesn’t exist.
The glacial “Playtime” and the nine-minute closer “Banana Ripple” are both ponderous and world-weary, and any kid with GarageBand and a Casio could have made “Kick the Can.” In fact, leaving those three tracks off would’ve made “It’s All True” a fantastic six-song EP, which would have been very 1982. Which, come to think of it, would have been pretty appropriate.
“Truly Happy Ending,” “Second Chance,” “You’ll Improve Me”