Kiwi Jr - Chopper (Sub Pop)

Kiwi Jr – Chopper (Sub Pop)

The kiwi doesn’t stay long on the tree (?). When it is ripe it falls. The Kiwi is ripe.

Kiwi Jr last released an LP back in early 2021, recorded in 2020 but written before the world stuck the brakes on and the human race disappeared into its caves.

If Cooler Returns was the sunny daytime in Toronto, summer weddings by lakes in Nashville, baseball in LA and plain clothed cops in Omaha, then Chopper is the night, a metaphorical night or just the darkness that descended on 2020/21. There is still the usual non-sequiturs and wit, but there seems to be an edge of melancholy.

To start with, it kicks off with ‘Unspeakable Things’ which whilst is still upbeat with buzzing synths and a fairground organ chorus feel, they can’t help but drop into a wistful breakdown, then a guitar solo scratches through it, almost in anger to disrupt the daydreaming.

‘Parasite II‘ is on the attack from the get go. Someone in the laundry room is shrinking all his shirts. Bastards.

Jeremy Gaudet is channeling Michael Knight on ‘Night Vision’. David Hasselhoff flying through L.A in KITT. 80’s neon lights, tight perm, Pontiac Firebird Trans Am leaving scorch marks in the tarmac. Due to the aforementioned non-sequiturs it is hard to get a handle on what each song is about but this comes across as a conversation about….. actually i have no idea. It’s like they are putting a William H Burroughs or Hunter S Thompson book to music.

Contract Killers has a strong Human League beginning. This whole record feels deeply rooted in the nineteen eighties synth pop universe, but the Kiwi Jr jangle pop remains, but slightly buried.

The Sound of Music’ is the latest single coming shortly before the L.P dropped, and where as some elements of Cooler Returns had that early Strokes feel, this seems to have taken on some of the Abormal of the last LP from the New Yorkers. Again, there is a roar of furious guitar solo, as if “Deadlifting a Fender guitar” got them really pissed off with the Synth and wanted to start a fight.

‘The Masked Singer’ you would expect to be about the dreadful TV show but as usual its hard to tell if that is really the subject matter. The title only appears in the first verse and the rest does seem to use metaphors for the kind of fighting that can be heard in meetings.

Faceless, more or less/Following footprints/New name feels the same/
Fake it till you fail”.
“Shovels in trenches digging up just rain/Always underestimate the panic in the writers room/Always has to be some new kid undercutting protocol” as if SNL has started a fly on the wall doc about the comedians bickering over content.

Is this the follow up to Cooler Returns we expected? Probably not. It has appeared remarkably quickly after LP2 but then bands and artists had little else to do in 2021. What makes Kiwi Jr so great is still there but perhaps a little subdued by life.

Hopefully, the day follows the Toronto night and the Kiwi Jr can ripen in the sunshine again.


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.