Japandroids: Celebration Rock

Japandroids: Celebration Rock
"Honey, can you set the Japandroids to 'Rock'? I feel a little stressed.."

Now this is refreshing.

This record makes me wanna drive for hours, mosh the immovable, headbang down the street, kick bricks and break out air-drumsticks (kits are expensive).

If you’ve popped-in Japandroids’ second album expecting ballads, auto-tune, mash-ups, two-minute pop ditties and/or a sax, well... I’d like to know where you’re getting your album reviews.

The name of the album says it all – Celebration Rock.

“Long lit up tonight and still drinking
don’t we have anything to live for?
well of course we do
but ‘till they come true
we’re drinking”

So roars the opening track, “Nights of Wine and Roses.”

Japandroids is a less-angsty Local H and a more jammy Foo Fighters. But like their rock duo forefathers, they have that simple blaze-ahead combo rock down: a grinding guitar that refuses to stop and one kit, hit hard and fast, cymbals crashing throughout.

This second album from the Brian King/ David Prowse duo almost didn’t exist. Frustrated by a lack of scene support in Vancouver (ha… ha……ha… Sorry. Hawks fan) Japandroids was set to disband in late ’08 until a label persuaded them to press on (they had their first record Post-Nothing already recorded and its ’09 release was to be their final act).

But when the track “Young Hearts Spark Fire” and its subsequent album were both praised by Pitchfork, well – boom – overnight rock star (good old internet win).

The lyrics and melodies of this second album are filled with the exuberant rock on energy of a band that has lived through some sh*t and decided to deal (take note, world).

“There’s no high like this
adrenaline nightshift”

All the stress seems to melt away when these Japandroid dudes turn up their amps and start playing. The songs emit positive life energy. I feel that vibe, because I get it when I play guitar or drums myself. The music glows. It’s rock ‘n’ roll.

You might be saying, "But I've heard straight rock before, dude. Is this the same thing?" Valid. (And although I'm pretty sure that when I pull of the fake mustache and glasses I'll find Thom Yorke in disguise, I'll answer your question.) This is the kind of stuff that never gets old. If you like to turn volume knobs as much as I do, Japandroids careening, slightly off-kilter style of bashing away and yelling will make you smile. It's naturally fresh in an era where bands often force fresh like Febreze.

If anyone else attempted to cram as many words, hits and strums into such a tiny space, they might accidentally cause the next Big Bang.

There are only eight songs on the album, but don’t fear any of the tracks to be two minutes worth of nonsense – they are all 4-5 minutes long and filled with thought, rocking, more thought, flourish, chant, flourish, yell, close.

All for under ten bucks.

“When they love you (and they will)
tell em they’ll all love in my shadow
and if they try to slow you down
tell them all, to go to hell”

“The House That Heaven Built” (lyrics above, video below, currently being performed nonstop in my head) is one of at least three huge rock anthems that come out of this. If anything – go rock this song and try to make a case that it’s not a big, happy punch in the ear.

I mentioned in a previous article that this record would be a good contender for album of the summer, and as far as I'm concerned it's still a tight race with Alabama Shakes ("Hang Loose" just won't quit me).

I don’t need to say anymore.

Listen below. Find the album. Celebration Rock on.

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  • OMG! This has been in heavy rotation on my Spotify! These guys rock! I saw them in Chicago, last time they came at Schuba's, and they were great! Love the review...

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