Rapidfire Reviews: Kiwi Jr + YUNG

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Kiwi Jr. – ‘Cooler Returns’

Maybe it’s the Canadian bias in me, but not only am I partial to 60s sounding, 90s inspired, rock music, I’m also a sucker for fun-loving Canadian indie bands. Enter Kiwi Jr. Cooler Returns is the band’s second full-length, and I think it’s safe to say I like it alot. I was a big fan of their debut album, Football Money, and this time around, the sound feels sleeker, filled with hook after hook of sprawling jangle indie rock.

For Kiwi Jr., the devil’s in the details. The album opener “Tyler” begins with a reference to living in a low rent apartment and the people out to exploit such a ‘travesty’, a topic which no doubt resonantes with the current generation living in a big expensive city such as the bands native Toronto. That’s what I mean when I say the devil is indeed in the details; lead singer Jeremy Gaudet is as clever as they come. All throughout the record, intertwined with various harmonies, guitar riffs, clap-along songs, are lyrics as observant as they are quaint. Jeremy sings about the current state of the world, locally and abroad. Songs like “Waiting in Line” and “Undecided Voters” are sing-along anthems commenting on exactly what their titles refer to. It may not hit you right away, but this record does reward multiple listens.

Musically, the comparisons might be obvious, namely the Pavement-esque melodies. Whether that’s your thing or not, this record had my leg dancing and head bobbing thanks to its varied instrumentals and cohesive energy. That jangle pop sound I mentioned earlier is super infectious and I dare you not to sing along. It just goes to show that Canadian music is more than Drake, Justin Bieber and The Weekend, it goes well beyond. Just look at Kiwi Jr. and you might be pleasantly surprised.

Disappointing / Average/ Good / Great /Phenomenal

Yung – ‘Ongoing Dispute’

I remember one of the first reviews I ever wrote for The Alternative was Yung’s debut full length A Youthful Dream back in the summer of 2016. The Danish punk rockers are a talented and enigmatic group. The 5 year gap between their last full album and their latest was indeed a lengthy pause, even with the release of some songs here and there as stop gaps, I wondered if the band was ever going to release another full length. Silly me. When I first heard Ongoing Dispute, I wasn’t completely sold. Much like the Kiwi Jr., multiple listens tends to reward the listener, and boy, it was worth the wait.

I should clarify, it’s not that I didn’t enjoy the record the first time I listened all the way through, I was in fact impressed. It’s loaded with thick, fuzzy guitar riffs, a jarring bassline and has some ominous shoegaze overcast to it. In terms of content, the band knows how to tap into the youthful attitude, as traumatic as it can be at times, presenting straightforward dissatisfaction mixed with euphoric desolation, allowing for the band to take a slow burning-flame approach and igniting it into explosions of energy and anger. Tracks such as “Unresolver” and “Such a Man” perhaps demonstrate this quality best. It’s these bursts that allow the band to show their range in terms of styles and influences. Tracks such as “Lust and Learning” and “Friends on Ice” show their dreamy elements, whereas tracks like the opener “Autobiography” and “Progress” showcase their Cure style influence.

Ultimately, it’s that blending of styles and influences that made me really appreciate the effort here. There will be some who’ll categorize it as a post-punk album, which is fair. Some may call it indie-rock, or punk or something else. It doesn’t really matter, at the end of the day, if you’re into the sound, there’s sure to be something here for you. And isn’t that what punk music is all about?

Disappointing / Average/ Good / Great /Phenomenal


Steven Lalonde / @StevenLalonde

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