Arts

This week we looked at mega-albums and instrumental giants alike. Image: Dasser Kamran/Fulcrum.

Here are our first picks for 2021!

Single of the Week: “Waiting in Line” by Kiwi Jr. – 4/5

In the same vein of indie rock groups such as, say, Parquet Courts and Vampire Weekend, Kiwi Jr.’s music exudes the sort of liveliness and enthusiasm that listeners can almost feel in their nerves. In their new song, “Waiting in Line”, Kiwi Jr. proves this statement true with a carefree drum groove and a melody that can’t help but put a smile on your face despite the song’s melancholy lyrics.

The song’s refrain  — “Waiting in line / Queueing up for the very last time / Waiting in line for you” — portrays a dejected protagonist waiting in the titular “line” for their love interest for the last time ever. These lyrics juxtapose the cheerful instrumental as if the song’s protagonist were dancing their troubles away, inviting the listener to do the same. 

“Waiting in Line” galvanizes the listener, giving them the go-ahead to dance like nobody’s watching. Kiwi Jr., an up-and-coming Toronto band, seeks to instill joy in the hearts of all who listen, a mantra prevalent in their debut “Football Money” all the way to their newest singles for their upcoming album, Cooler Returns.

Highlighted Album: We Will Always Love You by The Avalanches – 3.8/5

Since their critically acclaimed 2000 debut “Since I Left You,” The Avalanches have only released two albums. Wildflower, released in 2016, was a strong comeback after a sixteen year hiatus containing contributions from a variety of artists including Father John Misty, Toro y Moi, and the late MF DOOM. Only four years later, The Avalanches have released their third album, We Will Always Love You, which is packed with features, too. MGMT, Blood Orange, Leon Bridges, Denzel Curry, Kurt Vile — the list goes on. 

Each of these albums are sonically cohesive, in that they each have a distinct sound and style. Though, conversely, each album is unabashedly an Avalanches record, too: a heavy use of sampling, high quality production value, and plenty of danceable grooves are all commonplace across their discography. 

We Will Always Love You is simultaneously a return to form for The Avalanches and an experiment in the group’s aural aesthetics. On We Will Always Love You each song flows together seamlessly, attracting the listener to join The Avalanches on a journey through an auditory dreamland. This is an ambitious output from the group, since structuring the album in this way requires every song to rely on one another. The Avalanches likely included these interludes to flesh out the album’s concept, but the concept isn’t too strong to begin with. With 25 songs on this album, The Avalanches could have certainly trimmed some of the fat off this album to produce a better product. 

That is not to say this isn’t a good album, not in the slightest. We Will Always Love You is most definitely a good album, but it could have been improved if its runtime was cut down a bit by leaving only the essential tracks. The Avalanches have a strong discography with only three albums released, and it isn’t hindered by this new release. 

Discovery of the Week: GAS

Classes are back for another semester and with the current state of things right now, it might be hard to focus for some. Personally, I like to study while listening to instrumental music; I listen to movie scores, some classical (though a lot of classical music stresses me out), some jazz music (likewise), and a lot of ambient music.

GAS is a new favourite of mine to listen to while studying, particularly his sophomore album Pop. The songs are long, the instrumentals are driving, and the tracks are repetitive and calming — perfect for studying. 

All GAS albums are more or less structured the same with about seven to ten songs named after the title of their album. Some of these albums are long: like, over two hours long. “Nah Und Fern”, a boxed set of four albums, is over four hours long.

This might not be for everyone, I know. But, a long album that doesn’t require much intensive listening can be perfect for studying! Check out GAS, see if you like the music, study away; good luck this semester, everyone!