Although it should be taken as a huge compliment, it is almost impossible to disassociate Kansas City’s Parts Of Speech from Junior Boys. Because, just like the Canadian synth-soul experts, Brandon Knocke and Alexander Thomas take on 1980’s electronica and inject it with a dose of vulnerability.
For ‘Canopy’, Knocke’s breezy vocals float upon an ambient wash of keyboards. As the album develops, the origins of synth pop are even more pronounced. The primitive melodies for ‘ABC Islands’ and ‘Tasted Comfort’ could have come from OMD or Depeche Mode’s initial recordings with only the insouciant but perfectly pitched tones of Knocke bringing the songs in to the 21st Century; the latter is a brilliant example of their lovelorn yet eerie approach. ‘Electric Lime Timeless’ goes one step further by incorporating a sax solo whilst the blissful grace of ‘Hidden Pigeon’ is kept grounded by Thomas’ precise drumming. The album does noticeably drift towards the end but the air of studied cool is ever present.
Because of the obvious comparison mentioned earlier, Parts Of Speech could be in danger of becoming a pastiche act. They get away with it though because their songs are fully formed in their own right and blessed with irresistibly romantic, nocturnal atmospheres.