“Kiwi Jr.: Rickenbackers detuned to the frequency of a blue-screen migraine, equal parts jangle and punk – a modern day Modern Lovers with The Kinks cc’d” is how the Toronto four-piece, Kiwi Jr. are summed up via the press release for their debut LP ‘Football Money’. It’s a record getting a worldwide release via Persona Non Grata Records after Mint Records handled the Canadian release back in March 2019.
‘Football Money’ is harnessed by a jaunty thrum that’s been likened to Pavement and The Strokes while bearing similarities to Bodega and Parquet Courts. The record’s narrative arc is one underpinned by work-life balance and a nagging feeling of being lost in modernity. Although this doesn’t dampen the spirit of Kiwi Jr.’s primary outing, the slacker-esque vibes mean that, despite there being the occasional hint of melancholy the band still maintain a laidback easy-breezy aesthetic.
‘Salary Man’ is the most blatant ode to the daily grind, as vocalist/guitarist Jeremy Gaudet, mournfully muses “I look back on when I was rude or unkind to someone who was trying to help me” and “I miss our talks over coffee” as a loose jangle shimmies behind him. An injection of immediacy fuels ‘Nothing Changes’, a track that frontends the group’s punk leanings. The song’s title is repeated like a mantra “nothing really changes around here/everything’s out of my price range”, while “everyone looks like a lumberjack” sounds like hipster baiting lyrics if I’ve ever heard them. The hazy piano-led ‘Comeback Baby’ embellishes the outfit’s Kinks-like pop inclination hinted at earlier as Gaudet murmurs “last night your dreams were broadcast/but no-one you know has a television” with the tone of a man who’s constantly overlooked by his friends and family. There are times
when the work-life balance swings its pendulum towards having a good time and to hell with the work part; ‘Leslie’ is a pacey jingle-jangled romp that tells the story of…err….Leslie, a true free spirit “who dropped out of college/Leslie/took to the streets for knowledge/Leslie/disappeared last new year/Leslie/after pounding a few beers”.
Not quite an album indebted to flexible working hours and thankfully there’s not a spreadsheet in sight; ‘Football Money’ takes a playful yet sincere look at modern life through the lens of retro-styled slacker rock.
Words and Thought of Adam Williams
Football Money is now out via Persona Non Grata/Mint Records