reviewed by Michael Thomas
The world as of late has seemed like a particularly depressing place to be, so thank god albums of pure, unbridled joy are still alive and kicking. Field of Trampolines is a summer album a whole season early and it’s the most cohesive offering of songs the prolific Shotgun Jimmie has put out so far.
Jim Kilpatrick has always had a knack for expressing specific, articulate ideas in shorter time frames, and here he captures the euphoric feeling of everlasting friendship and the rush that the summer seems to bring.
Shotgun Jimmie remains a powerpop darling because he’s the musician’s musician—he is deeply connected to staples of the Canadian music scene like Joel Plaskett (with whom he recorded the album) and classic bands like Attack in Black, the Constantines and Eric’s Trip, all bands he sings about in individual songs. There’s a deep sense of community and knowledge as Jimmie sings of touring in Germany and Poland and hitting up EdgeFest at Ontario Place.
And it’s all so infectious. Opener “Join the Band” is a joyous bit of powerpop that makes touring seem like the greatest thing in the universe, and the album’s title track is as happy as I can only imagine one must be when running through an actual field of trampolines. “Triple Letter Score” is a pool party, and even “Georgia OK,” a song about Jimmie’s experiences in art school, yearns for a place in the sun.
The very sweet tributes to the aforementioned bands come to the end. “Love Letter,” uncharacteristically ditching lead guitar for a bit of organ and percussion, lovingly pays homage to Attack in Black. The first words of “Constantine Believer” may be an anthem for a specific generation of Canadians: “I don’t believe in a lot of things, but I believe in the Constantines.” Finally, “Song for Julie, Chris, Rick + Mark” captures Eric’s Trip’s essence in just a minute-and-a-half of brisk, nearly punk-like rock arrangement.
The album has two songs that could effectively end it: there’s “Project 9,” a considerably slower-paced songs that calls out very specific memories; then there’s “Walkman Battery Bleed,” the song that actually ends the album, that shimmers like the summer heat and nicely draws Field of Trampolines to a close.
This album should solidify Shotgun Jimmie’s status as a Canadian national treasure. I don’t believe in a lot of things, but I believe in Jim Kilpatrick.
Top Tracks: “Join the Band”; “Love Letter”
Rating: Hunting Call (Excellent) +*swoop*