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Junior Boys, with Caribou and the Russian Futurists

Thursday, May 12, at Mary Jane's Fat Cat, 4216 Washington Avenue, 713-869-5263.

Go ahead and brand Junior Boys IDM (rank shorthand for "intelligent dance music"). Just know that doing so would be a waste of time and precious consonants. Because what the Boys want to be are pop stars, and on their spectacular debut they manage to compress all that is right about songwriting down to a couple of blips and a backbeat. Like Gary Numan with a soul stuffed in or Depeche Mode with the bluster sucked out, the Junior Boys gurgle and burble and fizz, with vocalist Jeremy Greenspan cooing and pouting over a two-step rhythm that sounds like tin cans falling down a flight of stairs. But while the beats may click and clatter, the bulk of Last Exit is remarkably soothing; Greenspan has a voice like a cotton ball, and he bounces it playfully over gently pulsing electronics. Junior Boys make songs that go pop -- albeit very, very quietly.

 
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