Japandroids - Celebration Rock
It's becoming quite clear that Japandroids have the whole blood boiling fist-pumping bro-rock thing down pat. After the wild successes of 2009's Post-Nothing and the pummeling ooh-ooh-oohs therein cemented the sound that they'd previously attempted in earlier EPs, one couldn't help but wonder what was next for the duo. Well, nearly three years later Celebration Rock is an answer, and it's become clear that the answer was to pummel us harder, more clearly, and more profusely than ever before.
Though we were unknowingly given a stunning taste of the album as part of their singles series last year in 'Younger Us', the first single that we've received as part of this whole album cycle is perhaps most representative of the album on the whole. 'The House That Heaven Built', like much of the album, is constructed around an insistent guitar part and the characteristic shout-y vocal call-and-response that the band has become so known for. In short, it sounds quite like what we've often come to expect from Japandroids, the notable difference being the more verbose nature than ever before.'Younger Us' and the rest of the singles in that series made it clear that would be the move the band was making. While earlier efforts, both on the EPs and even largely on Post-Nothing, were content to turn single phrases into mantras, guitarist Brian King's compositions here tend to lie more in traditional lyric writing structures. There's just flat out more lyrics overall, though I'm not really sure it's a positive or negative move on the whole. Obviously, King is given the opportunity to express himself more clearly, but half the fun of Post-Nothing was in how King was able to imbue so much meaning into so few words on tracks like 'Wet Hair.'
On the whole, these tracks largely sound like what we've come to expect from the band. Whether in the nimble riffs of 'Adrenaline Nightshift' or in the more straightforward attack of 'Evil's Sway,' it's clear that these songs are direct descendants of the unparalleled fun of Post-Nothing. One could indeed chide the band for not taking steps too far forward, but with a formula as successful as the one Japandroids have hit on, it's hard to blame them for simply working within that formula to write more lyrically complex songs. It's the energy of a Japandroids live show condensed into a tight 35 minutes.
The only real criticism one could level at the record is in its negligence for the other side of Japandroids sound hinted at heavily by the closing tracks on Post-Nothing. It's not so much that 'I Quit Girls' and 'Sovereignty' hit on a lighter note, it's that because of their lightened punch, the emotional weight of their lyrics was able to hit on a deeper level. With the exception of perhaps 'Continuous Thunder', King and drummer David Prowse refuse to tone it back and we're left with a record, that although a songwriting improvement on their last effort, is a bit more one-note. It's an emotional high the whole time, certainly, but one can't help but miss the beautiful comedown that closes their last album. That one criticism aside, with Celebration Rock, King and Prowse have constructed an album that's near impossible to dislike. It may not be the peak of their artistic abilities, but you can't really ask too much more out of two dudes from Vancouver.
Purchase and listen
Label: Polyvinyl Records Release date: 02/04/10 Website: Myspace Canadian duo, Japandroids, are back! Well, they didnât really leave us, either on our iPods ( Post Nothing, their first effort, is still full of tunes to soundtrack 2010) or on the road, where they offer their inimitable shooegaze âpunk (and delicious covers such as âRacer-Xâ, the Big Black song appearing here as a b-side). âArt Czarsâ then, is a brand new single-written during the Post-Nothing sessions. Rath... [read more]
Despite not being the biggest fan of Japandroids, their live reputation will always precede them and as a result I couldn't resist going to see them when the opportunity arrived. Green Door Store is one of the better venues in Brighton as well, and, with the show likely to sell out, the atmosphere promised to be incendiary. [read more]
Artist: Japandroids Release: Post-Nothing Out: Now! Buy: Amazon Had your fill of alt-folk acts? Just about enough of 80s tinged electronic pop? Try this recipe... Take two Canadian chaps (Brian King and David Prowse), add one electric guitar (turned up rather loud - to about 11), mix in a drum kit (that gets the shit beaten out of it), sprinkle in a good handful of distortion and feedback and glaze with a nice catchy chorus or two. Toss in some simple lyrics about good times and gir... [read more]
"Tonight should by all means be a celebratory one: As well as being the last stop of the Glaswegians and Canadians UK jaunt, it will also, come midnight, mark the 30th birthday of Japandroid's sprightly frontman Brian King." James Brown watches the close of a rather amazing looking tour [read more]