Kiwi Jr.

Cooler Returns

On their sophomoric smash-up, Kiwi Jr. cycle through the recent zigs & looming zags of the new decade, squinting anew at New Year’s parties forgotten and under-investigated small town diner fires, piecing together low-stakes conspiracy theories on what’s coming down the pike in 2021. Put together like a thousand-piece puzzle, assembled in flow state through the first dull stretch of quarantine, sanitized singer shuffling to sanitized studio by streetcar, masked like it’s the kind of work where getting recognized means getting killed, “Cooler Returns” materializes as a sprawling survey from the first few bites of the terrible twenties, an investigative exposé of recent history buried under the headlines & ancient kings buried under parking lots.

 

Kiwi Jr.’s “Cooler Returns” goes down easy thanks to meaningful changes enacted in 2019’s KiwiCares Pledge: delivering on a promise to transition from Crunchy to Smooth by 2021, the caveman chug of their debut “Football Money” has been steamed & pressed with the purifying air of a saloon piano – operated with bow-tie untied – and a spring green side-salad of tentatively up-tempo organ taps & freshly fluted harmonica.

 

A chronically detuned spin of the dial through swivel-chair distractions & WFH daydreams, an immersive ctrl-tab deluge cycling through popular listicle distractions like the unentombing of Richard III, or the deja vu destruction of the Glasgow School of Art, Kiwi Jr. sing the title track to an indoor audience, crisscrossing canceled, every other prestige distraction source wrung dry, only songwriting remaining to deliver engrossing tales to the populace, just how one imagines it worked in the old days.

Listen: Kiwi Jr. – “Cooler Returns”

Kiwi Jr. – “Cooler Returns”