Toronto-via-Charlottetown indie rockers Kiwi Jr release debut album ‘Football Money’ via Persona Non Grata Records (Pip Blom). The record, engineered by Aaron Goldstein and mixed by Holy Fuck’s Graham Walsh, follows shows with huge bands including Wolf Parade, New Pornographers and Alvvays.
Clocking in at under 30 minutes, the 10 tracks kick off with ‘Murder in the Cathedral’, a nostalgia-infused piece of US college rock that combines slacker melodies with a harmonica and elements of country: ‘It’s a hard kind of life when you can’t even open your eyes’. The band veer into the kind of territory that served Pavement and Teenage Fanclub so well on ‘Leslie’. This song has a call-and-response (‘Leslie… Who fell asleep on the couch’) scattered throughout and even finds time for a Graham Coxon-esque guitar solo.
Recent single ‘Salary Man’ talks about the mundane aspects of life like forgetting to charge your phone while trying to balance an office job with the joys of being in a band and trying to find something more: ‘I gaze out of the window, there’s still poetry there’. ‘Gimme More’ will delight fans of Beach Slang or The Replacements from its very first power pop note and manages to fit in Star Wars references (‘Gimme more Star Wars’; ‘Gimme More ‘Luke, I’m your father”) while ‘Comeback Baby’ is full of romantic lines that will leave you breathless – ‘Constellations of freckles on your skin’ – and promises to change for the better. The two-minute title track has a stomping chant-along sound as the band discuss high school sports rivalries: ‘They pay me to hit home runs, they don’t pay me to stand in the sun’; ‘Sign the contract, kid’.
‘Nothing Changes’ finds the band trying to escape familiar surroundings in a way that brings to mind The Menzingers while also perhaps referencing Los Campesinos!: ‘Talk about the passion with this one, everyone rolls their eyes in unison’. The penultimate ‘Swimming Pool’ is more reflective as it examines how places stay the same while people move on: ‘This is the city where I live, these are the friends that I have made’; ‘I know when I come home again you won’t be waiting in the wings’. The closing ‘Wicked Witches’ features detuned guitars, handclaps and talk about stopping witches being evil before it finishes the record with a potent burst of feedback.
Kiwi Jr’s ‘Football Money’ scores highly in pretty much every way.