Text: Paul van der Zalm
Translation : Bente van der Zalm

You could easily lump Kiwi Jr. together with Weezer or the Wombats, because at first glance, all three bands are singing from the same hymn sheet, that of lo-fi rattle rock with a comical angle. Kiwi Jr. today released ‘Cooler Returns’, the follow-up to their debut album ‘Football Money’, which received a worldwide re-release in 2019. The album contains 13 pointed songs that all follow pretty much the same pattern and – with a few exceptions – stay under three minutes, as we were used to with the Ramones, for example. 

Musically, the album is not really surprising, but the lyrics are. First of all, it’s amazing how many lyrics fit into a song that’s just over two minutes and second, there’s more depth in the words than you’d expect. Although it’s hard to interpret all the metaphors directly, you can deduce that they are socially critical and denounce hypocrisy. The central question seems to be what life is really all about, what are those ‘cooler returns’ and what goals do you pursue? In that respect, Kiwi Jr. is less superficial than the aforementioned bands and the humour is more cynical.

You could find it disturbing that the music sometimes seems to be subordinate to the lyrics when for example singer Gaudet cheats with the meter, which then detracts from the overall impression. Just like the Wombats are not from Australia (but from England), Kiwi Jr. is not from New Zealand: Jeremy Gaudet, Brohan Moore, Mike Walker and Brian Murphy are proud Canadians. In the video for the recently released single ‘Waiting in Line’ they travel through a (because of Corona) deserted hometown Toronto, Ontario. On YouTube you can also find the lyrics that are worth looking at, and the same goes for both other singles: ‘Undecided Voters’ and the title track ‘Cooler Returns’. Responsible for technique and mix was Graham Walsh (METZ and Bully) and Phillip Shaw Bova took care of the mastering.

Kiwi Jr. signed to Sub Pop Records in late September 2020.

Photo credit: Laura Lynn Petrick