January 24, 2021
(Sub Pop)The Toronto band’s accomplished second album stands out from the usual run of DIY indie
Kiwi Jr: Cooler Returns review –  clever, easy-going jangle pop
Conditioned by its DIY wing, trad indie rock tends to look askance at musicianly filigree. But Toronto’s Kiwi Jr know their way around a rock’n’roll piano, some well-oiled harmonica, interlocking guitars and a host of other non-DIY flourishes. That’s what hauls this foursome clear of their solid but over-familiar templates: fey jangle pop, punky melodics, the Modern Lovers and Pavement.
There’s some seething organ, or bejewelled piano, on many of the songs on this 13-track album – calling to mind how the Hold Steady brought Springsteen’s wildly sentimental keys to post-hardcore. So although blithe tunes are at the core of this set of songs, and Singer Jeremy Gaudet speaks of indie mecca Glasgow like he knows the city well on Undecided Voters, the accomplished successor to this band’s promising 2019 debut finds Kiwi Jr having their cake and eating it.
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