Smash cut to Kiwi Jr.’s third album, Chopper, overseen by trusted pilot Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade, Handsome Furs) on storied Sub Pop Records. Turning nocturnal with necks mock turtle, our Local Kiwi Jr. takes neon flight off the digital cliff - like The Monkees starring in Blade Runner; like Michael Mann directs Encino Man. Ten songs with synth shimmer, zen gongs with yard strimmer. The signs along the highway read “LESS BAR, MORE NOIR AHEAD.” Ah, those late summer, Joe Strummer, Home on the Range Rover Blues.
There's a melancholy to all forms of flight, and the view out the Chopper is as hazy as it gets: mission-oriented, both stealth and self-realized. This album is decidedly (yet almost secretly) anti-patio-sunscreen-Beach Boys bachelor cruise sing-a-long. Sure, these songs let a little light through the blinds, but they sting insomnia, corrupt mayors, Kennedy Curses, sex tapes, and deer rifles. Chopper is the bird's eye view of the big event - a real nighttime character of oil stain, film grain, search light, night flight. It is muscular and fragile; loud yet quiet: both an observer and somehow the observed spectacle itself.
What was slack in the slacker phase, got tauter, with lacquer glaze. Slick gloss, rightened wrongs; murdered boss, promoted pawns. With Boeckner transmitting high-voltage shocks upon every reach for a familiar instrument, Kiwi Jr. expands the palette with string machine song, synthesizered oblong, and Dentyne Classic Menthol vocals from area soprano Dorothea Paas (US Girls, Badge Epoch Ensemble) like the missing piece all along.
Kiwi Jr. brings the Chopper to a new space, demilitarizing the technology just like flasks, aviators, and cargo shorts. Graceful in the air above, but when the Chopper lands, there's chaos on the ground. Kiwi Jr. shout, “Look Out!” When it gets close, it'll blow the hat right off of your head.
Hold onto your hats, Babies.