On the face of it, Junior Boys’ fourth album could have been written at any point between 1984 and the present day, depending on whether you reckon analogue synths, big washy electronics and compressed vocals are groundbreaking or delightfully retro. However, while ‘It’s All True’’s foundations may be indebted to both the sophisticated pop of The Human League’s 80s heyday and more banging American electro that inspired Warp’s early releases, its adornments and details are far more modern: ‘Playtime’, an oddly compelling seven-minute ballad, adds a sense of internationalism with atonal Chinese bells, and ‘You’ll Improve Me’’s abrupt ending is harshly contemporary. If much of this sounds somewhat disparate, what unites the tracks is an unfortunate tendency for each to outstay its welcome. Indeed, it’s telling that the album’s stand-out, ‘A Truly Happy Ending’, a stylishly melancholic piece of snappy songwriting, is also its shortest.

By Sam Walton

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