Kiwi Jr. – ‘Chopper’ album review

Kiwi Jr. Chopper album review

Sub Pop signings Kiwi Jr. follow up ‘Cooler Returns’ with ‘Chopper’, a new album that again finds the Toronto quartet exploring a more sonic sound – with more synths than ever before – as Jeremy Gaudt discusses everything from living in the digital age to the constant spector of death and the joy, hilarity and horror of reality TV…

‘Unspeakable Things’ opens the album in typically wry style as a carnival-esque melody and ’60s melodies back up lyrics about blood, brute force and a warning that ‘You’re never going home again’. This is followed by the potent pop hooks of ‘Parasite II’, a song in the vein of Ben Folds or Ben Kweller that features the powerful line: ‘If it’s good for you and it’s good for me, it’s good for the family’. ‘Clerical Sleep’, a song about trying to find comfort and solace as you ignore all the outward distractions – follows with harmonies, marching drums and an observation that ‘It felt so good to be home but leaving feels even better’.

‘The Extra Sees the Film’ is based around an individual who has high aspirations – looking at things with ‘Bette Davis eyes’ – while also namedropping Kobe Bryant: ‘He talks about Los Angeles, that’s the queue for you to jump in’; ‘Making friends, making plans to pull someone out of a crowd and into the spotlight’. ‘The Sound of Music’ reminded us of Teenage Fanclub or The Shins with its wisftul melodies and tender lyrics about dying alone in your sleep, while the jangle pop of ‘Kennedy Curse’ belies it dark lyrics and repeat of the word ‘breakdown’. The closing ‘The Masked Singer’ clocks in at over six minutes with a personal message: ‘You can take your time, ’cause I’m taking mine… You can change your mind, ’cause I’m changing mine’.

This is a record full of hope, humour and honest storytelling – when you’re next in a record store, make sure you reach for the chopper…

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