Published Mar 02, 2020After a steady stream of singles with colourful, internet-collage-inspired album artwork, Toronto band Jagguar release their first full-length. Opening with a swirling two-and-a-half minute "Intro," parenthetically titled "(5PM at Coachella)," the following 12 songs inhabit a similarly introspective, jangly indie rock sensibility.
In fact, the third song is titled "Jingle Jangle," most likely a reference to their sonic influences, which include such masters of self-reflection as Soccer Mommy, Beach Fossils, and the War on Drugs (or else it's a reference to the notorious drug from the CW's Riverdale, possibly both). Lyrically, the album is attuned to the strange ennui of being a young person — ruining your new shoes, shovelling snow, going to the bank, brushing your teeth — and is steeped in specificity, referring to friends by name and singing about going to the Shorelines Casino and visiting Guelph, ON.
They do not shy away from difficult truths and emotions: in "Jingle Jangle," they sing about the inevitability of facing "things that I'm not dealing with," and make the astute (if vague) observation that "Just 'cause it's happened once before / It doesn't mean I've learned a thing."
Bonus track "Country Song" adds a shot of humour to the album, expressing heartfelt devotion via mimicry of Top 40 country music clichés ("He ain't never drove a pickup truck in his goddamn life"). The band tread well-worn territory with their reverb-heavy indie rock, focusing more on making music that is true to their experiences than on groundbreaking experimentation.
Yet despite its DIY feel, the songs are well recorded, and crystal-clear drums, synth, bass and guitar meld perfectly with softly delivered vocals. Although the album runs a little long, every song is so pleasant that it hardly matters. (Independent)