Kiwi Jr. return with their witty, indie-pop swagger on album Cooler Returns, showing off their pocked humour and catchy choruses.
If there’s anything we need right now, it’s a bit of fun and that’s exactly what you get with Kiwi Jr’s new album, Cooler Returns. From clever lyrics and bouncy melodies to playful vocals and a sense of camaraderie, the record has everything you need to forget your troubles and just enjoy yourself for a little while.
Tyler opens the record in a steady fashion, a settled yet inventive intro gently leading us into a summery indie-pop chorus. It has the lyrical absurdity and cleverness of the Kinks mixed with the hazy malice and catchiness of The Strokes as lyrics of having to grow up are slowly revealed: There’s a crowd gathering outside our apartment because they know my history and they like our rent.”
This story-based flavour continues on the next two tracks, Undecided Voters showing frustration at political apathy against jaunty guitars and jolly rhythms, whereas the brilliantly named Maid Marian’s Toast tells tales of arson and insurance fraud against a more settled, formulaic indie sound that comes alive in the chorus.
It’s a strong opening to the record that allows them to play a little more and try a few things as the album progresses, safe in the knowledge they’ve already thrown a few bangers out there. The album-titled Cooler Returns feels like a mix of The Jam/Style Council riffs and melodies thrown into a melting pot of guile and vigour with Omaha leaning on a more art-rock sound with a garage-rock underbelly. The fantastic Nashville Wedding is perhaps the most beautifully meandering track on the record which is brought to life by lead singer Jeremy Gaudet’s confident yet playful vocals leading the way for the rest of the track to be built around.
The record ends with the delightful duo of Norma Jean’s Jacket and Waiting Line, the former showing off that Strokes swagger once again and the latter bringing the album to close with a perky send-off, making you pine for warm summer days in a beer garden (if only…).
Cooler Returns from Kiwi Jr. is an impressively upbeat and playful record in a time when most of the world is downbeat and troubled. It’s an album that brings back the joy we all need in our lives. The catchy choruses and clever wordplay balance out the tracks perfectly, allowing Gaudet’s vocals to shine in the most delightful way. It’s a record you’ll be playing again from the start as soon as it’s finished.