Cooler Returns

Kiwi Jr. - Cooler Returns
Critic Score
Based on 15 reviews
2021 Ratings: #50 / 105
User Score
Based on 132 ratings
2021 Ratings: #108
Liked by 5 people
January 22, 2021 / Release Date
LP / Format
Sub Pop / Label
Indie Rock / Genres
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God Is in the TV

Ultimately, these guys just have a penchant for stringing together melodies and chord progressions and middle eights that make your want to dance about singing the silly words as your heart sores a bit as you prance about your kitchen waiting for the banana bread to rise.

Northern Transmissions

You’ll end up dizzied by the sheer amount of hooks that take up every second of Cooler Returns.


Sustaining momentum near-faultlessly across 13 songs and 37 minutes, Cooler Returns proves Kiwi Jr have the skills to match their smarts.


Golden hooks appear once and are never repeated, arrangements avoid predictable verse-chorus structures, and lyric sheets are packed with hyper-specific references and quirky non sequiturs.


If ‘Football Money’ was a full-hearted paean to the likes of Pavement and Archers of Loaf, then ‘Cooler Returns’ is the sound of Kiwi Jr moving forwards, planting their own flag in the power-pop ground.


The sophomore semester moves with a little more intention and nuance than the freshman year did, but the year-end celebration is no less of a blast.

The Line of Best Fit

Packed full of infectious riffs and jangle pop goodness, they manage to finesse the breezy indie-rock of their debut without losing any of their ramshackle charm.


‘Cooler Returns’ displays a keen eye for observation – both grand and quaint – as its myriad of tracks cohere together through a bond of musical influences old and new to form an album that’s invitingly optimistic, while also displaying intricacy and craftiness in abundance.

The Observer

The Toronto band’s accomplished second album stands out from the usual run of DIY indie.


Flourishes of organ, piano and harmonica fill out their sound, but those jangly guitars have lost none of their ramshackle charm.

No Ripcord

Cooler Returns plays out best if you go with its flow. Musical flourishes, references, and inspirations abound, but if you let yourself get lost in it, there is a lot to enjoy and not too much to worry about.


On their second album and first for Sub Pop, the Canadian indie rock group pairs shaggy guitars with sardonic observations.

Under The Radar

My worry is that in the long run they may become a one trick pony and if Kiwi Jr. continue to cling too close to Football Money, their appeal will begin to wilt and they will find themselves alone and dejected, like an now overweight jock in the basement clinging to their memories and a now tarnished high school trophy.

Beats Per Minute

This second round of easy-going quasi-punk doesn’t reach the highs of Football Money, but it does show a dedicated band churning out steadfast rock.


There are certainly some interesting tracks on this follow-up record, but unfortunately, the cohesiveness isn't there; be it within each song's structure, or across the whole record's thematic grounding, there's never enough put into a singular idea to really make an impact.

*dies of mediocrity*

My leg was jumping up and down as I listened - usually a good sign I'm enjoying the music. But this is completely average and I found some of the lyrics bizarre - but in a very forced way, not in a creative way. A song about undecided voters? The whole song made no sense to me. Another song is about how Woodstock apparently never happened? Something about 2021 behind tattooed on his behind, as well. Meh, i don't know. Not for me, but can't say it's bad! Just too average and forced.
FAVORITE TRACK: Only Here for a Haircut


Kiwi Jr.'s first album, Football Money, was a bit of a letdown for me. There was some tracks and aspects I loved about their sound but their messy punk sound fell short on a majority of the album. With a second album, I hoped Kiwi Jr. would be able to develop a more mature, tuned sound but still keep in touch with the whiny indie rock they carried on Football Money.

Cooler Returns is so mediocre and way too ... read more
Oh boy..
This went so fast i couldn't focus on a single song.
Just decent. Medicore and decent.
I’ll be completely honest, this album was a ton of fun, had a lot of energy, and sounded like the band was definitely putting a lot of thought while having a good time recording this. Sure the production is rough around the edges and may have some forgettable lyrics throughout the record.
But at the end of the day, It’s just a fun and passionate garage rock and jangle pop album with cool riffs that make a competent 36 minutes.
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Track List

  1. Tyler
  2. Undecided Voters
  3. Maid Marian's Toast
  4. Highlights Of 100
  5. Only Here for a Haircut
  6. Cooler Returns
  7. Guilty Party
  8. Omaha
  9. Domino
  10. Nashville Wedding
  11. Dodger
  12. Norma Jean's Jacket
  13. Waiting in Line
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Added on: November 15, 2020