Junior Senior | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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I was first attracted to D-D-Don't Don't Stop the Beat (Crunchy Frog/Atlantic), the debut from Danish party-rock team Junior Senior, because I'm a sucker for a sugar high. I keep playing it because, amazingly, the sheen never wears off. Joy is a difficult thing to sustain in pop music--push it too far and it turns vacuous and shrill. But there's something affecting about the way Junior (aka Jesper Mortensen) shouts the chorus of the duo's hit, "Move Your Feet"--a faith in the healing power of the pop hook that elevates the rest of the album as well, particularly the first half, from the introductory beatbox gym chant "Go Junior, Go Senior" to the faux-mod saunter of "Boy Meets Girl." Short, straight Junior is the mastermind of the pair, assembling elastic combinations of surf guitar runs, new-wave synth spurts, martial rhythms, fake-horn fanfares, and his own bright, swooning falsetto; big, gay Senior (aka Jeppe Laursen) is the loudmouth who dominates their energetic live shows with his you-people-love-me-and-you-know-it swagger. Sometimes they mine the odd-couple mismatch for comedy: On "Chicks and Dicks," Senior proclaims "Boy-b-boy-boys, I'm handsome and tall," Junior answers "Girl-g-girl-girls, I'm nasty and small," then the two exchange sexual taunts ("Hey, gay, get out of my way," "Hey, straight, you're always too late") over a mocking harmonica line. But most of the time they just march out one irresistible hook after another: big ones like the hypnotic steady-state rhythm guitar riff on "Shake Your Coconuts," tiny ones like the "oooh" Junior sings going into the chorus of "Rhythm Bandits." Electric Six headline, the Nice Device open, and Life During Wartime DJs spin. Thursday, October 16, 9 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee; 773-489-3160.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Soren Solkaer Starbird.

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