Published Jul 30, 2019A sequel album tends to have two important questions attached to it: Is the album's subject matter consistent enough to be considered a proper continuation of the previous work?; and can the music still stand on its own merits without being tied to past expectations?
To both those questions, Shotgun Jimmie answers a bold yes. The Sackville, NB native follows up 2011's beloved Transistor Sister with an equally charismatic and yet laid-back record that keeps a positive mental attitude throughout. The garage-rock of "Tumbleweed" and "Hot Pots" keep their hooks in, and the sing-along chorus of single "Cool All the Time" does a great job of masking a protagonist desperately struggling with his inability to be accepted by a music industry changing faster by the hour. Bonus points for the Chad VanGaalen bridge!
When things go off the rails is where Jimmie and his collaborators have truly succeeded. Having By Divine Right's José Miguel Contreras on production is a very welcome treat, further bolstered by the great saxophone work of Jay Baird. The shorter experiments give a taste of some sounds that often enhance rather than detract. A little flute solo on "Ablutions," the borderline hypnotic looping of "Piano (With Band)," even some turns into country and blues keep you wanting to see where the band go next.
The songwriting is the main factor where some may find issue. At times, it can feel esoteric, seemingly floating from one idea to the next without warning. Dig deeper, though, and you'll find a much more impassioned and determined Jimmie, more motivated to support and be supportive of those closest to him. A greater sense of clarity shines through, notably on "Suddenly Submarine" and the sombre but mellow end credits montage of "Sorry We're Closed," re-evaluating moments in your life and contemplating their meaning as to where your life is headed next.
Transistor Sister 2 keeps its easy-breezy production intact, throwing in some extra bells and whistles to make this a worthwhile followup and certainly a solid re-introduction to Jimmie's many "Sappy" slogans.