• Record Label: Sub Pop
  • Release Date: Jan 22, 2021
Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 13 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 13
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 13
  3. Negative: 0 out of 13
Buy On
  1. Classic Rock Magazine
    Feb 3, 2021
    90
    Arguably the most exuberant guitar pop alum of 2020. [Mar 2021, p.87]
  2. Jan 25, 2021
    80
    Songs such as Maid Marian’s Toast are both clever, easy-going and gilded with just the right amount of feedback and mouth organ.
  3. Jan 21, 2021
    80
    With Cooler Returns, Kiwi Jr. remains suspended in an alternate reality where it's always the last day of undergrad classes and a group of bookish housemates is hanging on a front porch waiting for a party to start around them. 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.
  4. Mojo
    Jan 21, 2021
    80
    Cooler Returns proves Kiwi Jr have the skills to match their smarts. [Feb 2021, p.86]
  5. Jan 21, 2021
    80
    ‘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.
  6. Jan 21, 2021
    80
    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.
  7. Jan 21, 2021
    80
    The real fun of Cooler Returns, though, lies in the clever details that you might never understand, no matter how many times you listen.
  8. 80
    What sets Kiwi Jr. apart from their peers though is their madcap view of the world and Cooler Returns establishes them as a band too confident to conform; a band who have all the skills to match their lyrical smarts.
  9. Jan 22, 2021
    70
    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.
  10. Jan 22, 2021
    70
    What Cooler Returns lacks in heft it makes up for with unadulterated kicks.
  11. Jan 22, 2021
    70
    By referencing the past—both their own and the back catalogues of such great artists as Sebadoh, Yo La Tengo, and Guided By Voices—it has resulted in another mighty fine record. Just don’t expect anything original and it’s easy to enjoy.
  12. Uncut
    Jan 21, 2021
    70
    Jeremy Gaudet's Jonathan Richman-esque speak-sung tones breathe life into protagonists widescreen-daydreaming their way out of drudgery. [Feb 2021, p.29]
  13. Jan 27, 2021
    69
    Most of Cooler Returns is an extension of what their last album was – that’s intentional. These aren’t meant to be revelations, or even to be taken as on-point analysis of a time or place. This is music for the soul, if your soul is literally craving a beer and a nap.

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