Kiwi Jr: Football Money (Mint Records)

Return of the slack: Toronto indie-poppers are arch, funny and concise as hell

Released Jan 8th, 2020 via Mint Records / By Ben Wood
Kiwi Jr: Football Money (Mint Records) The debut album from Canadian combo Kiwi Jr doesn't hang around. Witty, sardonic, packed with jangly guitars and singalong choruses, Football Money is classic indie-pop like they used to make when Steve Lamacq was a lad.

Many of these ten songs clock in at under three minutes. High-energy opener Murder in the Cathedral features snarky stream-of-consciousness lyrics with a definite debt to Pavement kingpin Stephen Malkmus.

Leslie's dumb-but-genius guitar riff and yobby Greek chorus make it a natural single. Salary Man is mellower, its chiming Rickenbackers reminiscent of early R.E.M. - while its lyrical ambivalence to day-jobs is a recurring theme.

The prettily autumnal Comeback Baby is a welcome change of pace, slowing things down a notch with echoes of The Shins. The lyrics often raise a smile, alternating between observational irony (Football Money tackles college sports dynamics) and odd, surreal juxtapositions. Swimming Pool darkens its folk-rock prettiness with an ominous refrain of 'Brian Jones...'!

Wicked Witches ends the collection in style. A playful acknowledgement of the band's humble status, its Lou Reed-esque vocals and glammy immediacy are great fun.

The slower numbers are often more effective, with a couple of the more breakneck tunes passing in a blur. But overall, this is top entertainment for underpaid, overeducated indie kids everywhere. 7/10