Kiwi jr. – Cooler Returns (2021) [FLAC 24bit/48kHz]

Kiwi jr. – Cooler Returns (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/48 kHz | Time – 36:07 minutes | 454 MB | Genre: Indie Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Sub Pop Records

While there’s been something to be said for the cocoon that was the cottage-core trend of 2020—a cozy comfort the world needed as a bandage to protect against harsh reality—it’s time for a change. Cooler Returns rips the bandage off, and it feels so good: sunny and exhilarating, and if the lyrics make no sense, does it even matter? Those non-sequitur one-liners, not to mention the inflection, delivery and timbre of Justin Gaudet’s singing, made it impossible for the band to avoid comparisons to Pavement (truly, Gaudet and Stephen Malkmus sound like a DNA match) with their first album, 2019’s Football Money. It’s the same this time around, and hallelujah to that. “Tigers in the coliseum/ Lions at the Comfort Inn/ Rah rah Omaha/ Home of the husbands,” from “Omaha,” could’ve been lifted right off of Pavement’s Watery, Domestic EP, but add a ’60s pony dance beat and the obtuseness feels fresh as a daisy. “Hell yeah, the new game is insane and I’m stuck keeping the old score,” from the buoyant opener “Tyler” could be about a changing relationship or a video game sequel. Who cares, just listen to that dandy piano roll swan in. “Only Here for a Haircut,” all hazy guitars and punchy drums, and the ping-pong melody of “Cooler Returns” are instant mood-boosters. “Maid Marian’s Toast” and “Waiting in Line” bring a delightful rumble to jangle pop. “Highlights of 100” gallops like a colt, while the insistent “Nashville Wedding” (“I wanna strangle the jangle pop band,” Gaudet wails, no irony) comes on like Lou Reed if he’d done speed instead of dope. There are also throughlines between songs like bouncy “Undecided Voters” and the especially terrific “Domino” and the joyous, controlled chaos of Apples in Stereo. Never let it be said the members of Kiwi Jr. (including Alvvays bassist Brian Murphy, who has compared Kiwi Jr.’s guitar style to a “very fast but friendly dog”) don’t have good taste. “The obvious answer is they just can’t stand us/ I can hardly stand to be stood up here at all,” Gaudet speak-sings on “Guilty Party,” too clever by half. Whatever, dude, just keep the serotonin flowing. – Shelly Ridenour

1. Tyler (02:05)
2. Undecided Voters (02:29)
3. Maid Marian’s Toast (02:23)
4. Highlights of 100 (02:39)
5. Only Here for a Haircut (03:09)
6. Cooler Returns (03:53)
7. Guilty Party (02:18)
8. Omaha (02:34)
9. Domino (02:11)
10. Nashville Wedding (03:14)
11. Dodger (02:36)
12. Norma Jean’s Jacket (03:10)
13. Waiting in Line (03:30)