This isn’t a disco album by the way.
Not completely anyway. Not wholly or purely. Disco you see, is dark and sleek. Disco is desire. Disco is desperation. Disco is love unrequited. At times it is all jet planes and limos and ten star hotels and diamonds crunching under stilettos, but mostly disco is an overwhelming sense of deathless poignancy and heartbreak. Disco is very serious indeed.
But this is just... a party album.
If anything, ‘D-d-don’t Don’t Stop The Beat’ - curious use of a double-negative there, are they saying the beat should be stopped?? - recalls the post-disco proto-hip-hop funk-boogie of The Rocksteady Crew and other early ‘80s Bronx sounds with the likes of Kid Creole and the Coconuts, The Joe Boxers, cheesy dance and garage rock thrown into the mix. It’s bright, flashy, relentlessly upbeat, exhaustingly busy and, if you’re in the right frame of mind, highly infectious.
Dumb as they come, the Danish duo have made an album so shallow and facile its banal songs only exist to soundtrack hedonism and mindless escape, plus with no room whatsoever for integrity, intensity or soul, it makes Andrew WK sound like Godspeed! You Black Emperor.
But those are just a few reasons why Junior Senior are utterly fantastic, the main reason though is that they get the mofo party started, yo! Just listening to it now has me dreaming of a package holiday to Marbella and spending sweltering nights rubbing my sunburnt skin against someone else’s in a conga line whilst drinking sticky-sweet cocktails with sexually suggestive names. Faaaantastic! In fact, let‘s be brutal, let‘s get to the crux of why this music is important. This is funtime party music, it will get [drunk][strangers] to dance together, boy-or-girl will meet boy-or-girl, and, and, and... well, people will GET LAID directly because of this! Beat that, Autechre geek fan!
But anyway, like shaken champagne the album bursts forth with the loud pop and fizzing and froth of a terrific opening set of mad, madly catchy, breakneck-paced and ridiculously groovy tracks which seem to have been scientifically engineered to be instant crowd-pleasing dance anthems, pop music for people in a hurry, the musical equivalent of a Big Mac or microwave pancakes or a blow-job in the pub bogs. An undemanding, unpretentious ready-made jukebox which comes replete with a couple of daft Danes enthusiastically yelling things like “move your body!“ and “keep on dancing!” as if: a) we need to be told to anyway, and b) to remind us to cut loose and go wild while we’re still young (ha, fools, our youth will last forever! Won’t it?).
But generally it’s straight-ahead, brash, party funfunfun. Only on ‘Move Your Feet’, the exquisite star-dust laced recent single, do they threaten to slip the surly bonds of the sweatbox nitespot and soar upward to the fuzzy-blue stratosphere of disco heaven. This, in part, is due to the impassioned vocals of guest singer Thomas Troleson. It’s also the only track on which he plays such a role, which is a shame as he is missed elsewhere on the album.
When they stray from the formula half way through is when things start to fall apart. ‘Boy Meets Girl’ just doesn’t have the energy of the earlier tracks. For one it’s an attempt to write an actual song, a terrible idea, and it’s way too slow, a fatal error. A strict code they should have adhered to is: if you can’t dance to it, it doesn’t belong here. Other songs like ‘Good Girl, Bad Boy’ and ‘C‘mon’ push to the fore their love of 1950s pop, especially rockabilly and surf. Indeed, it’s easy to imagine cheescake ’50s teens hand-jiving away at a beach party to something like ‘Dynamite’ while an atomic bomb mushroom cloud colours the sky a vivid purple and pink. But these are pale pastiches and nowhere near as fleet-of-foot as those in first half of the album.
It ends though (barring the now obligatory ‘bonus tracks’) with a stormer, a swamp stomper, a caustic garage rock blast that sounds like how Atari Teenage Riot would sound if Alec Empire for once snapped out of his adolescent fug and realised his own ridiculousness. It’s called ’White Trash’ and features a great call-and-response moment: “What’s your name? / WHITE TRASH! / I ain’t got NO CASH / and even if I get some money / I will still be WHITE TRASH, YEAH”.
It’s an uncharacteristically discordant ending to a good-time album that might well be this years equivalent to The Avalanches’ ‘Since I Left You’ and Fischerspooner’s ’#1_’ but without the hipster arch artiness of either of those. It’s light-headed and silly, most of it sounds like Wham!’s ’Club Tropicana_’ in a Magimix and long exposure to it will make you feel as if you’ve been snorting sherbet. Cool. Let the good times roll.
6David Merryweather's Score