Japandroids is a famously forceful live duo that blows through their music, aurally energizing crowds with each song. Hailing from Vancouver, Canada, Brian King (vocals, guitar) and Dave Prowse (vocals, drums) fuse together to create some serious power rock. Back in 2009 when a future for the band seemed questionable, their debut album Post-Nothing (Polyvinyl Record Co.) garnered high praise across the board from popular press outlets. Fast-forward to today: The band’s new album, Celebration Rock, is out June 5, is also on Polyvinyl, and is already gathering plaudits from national and international markets alike. Various contributors from THE BOMBER JACKET commented on the record:
Play this one loud, kids. I remember seeing Japandroids on Jimmy Fallon and thinking their thing was CATCHY, FUN, LOUD and (if it matters) SEEMINGLY GENUINE. And so it remains their thing on Celebration Rock.
Everything here sounds vivid without being slick—it’s a noisy rock record, but perfectly mixed, not amateurish re: distortion, but stoked to wield it. Through eight songs, I kept (cynically, I suppose) expecting the duo to exhaust their arsenal or wear out their welcome. It doesn’t happen.
Take “Continuous Thunder.” It booms and crackles; one imagines the team from Twister tracking it from their truck at their own peril. The album starts and ends with the sound of fireworks, and if that sounds cheesy to you, then turn back now. Celebration Rock is un-ironic, unselfconscious, maybe dumb, thrill-seeking and fully felt. And the louder, the better. Pretty much the attitude that blowing shit up in your backyard requires.
Japandroids continues to be our generation’s Bon Jovi on Celebration Rock. The songs are probably best experienced in a live setting: it’s easy to picture fans clapping along with the drums in “The Nights of Wine and Roses” and singing along with the life-affirming chorus of “The House That Heaven Built” (which is, lyrically speaking, an updated version of Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life”).
There’s not much hidden under the surface of these songs; they just show Japandroids’ love for big, heavy pop music. Their cover of “For the Love of Ivy” provides a needed exception from that earnestness halfway through the record, but the band makes the song its own by taking away the quiet-loud dynamics that made it interesting in the first place. They’ll have to show off some new tricks next time around to keep all but their fiercest supporters interested.
Celebration Rock is the aptly titled sophomore release of Japandroids. There is a sense of joyous revelry that permeates the whole album and infects the listener with the desire to get up and dance. This album will be a staple at summer parties, and it would be a treat to hear these songs live at an outdoor festival. It took a few listens to distinguish between individual songs, but this just demonstrates the cohesion of the album as a whole. Tracks like “Fire’s Highway” have great anthemic potential complete with “whoas” and other non-lyrics that are easy to sing along with. The distorted guitars utilized on this album fill the room with frenetic energy. A personal standout is the closer “Continuous Thunder” which serves to ground the otherwise non-stop energy of the rest of the album.
Fun. I didn’t know Japandroids was this good. Feeling a little Ty Segall groove on this album. Japandroids is proof once again that you can get a great, heavy sound from just two people. Funny that the album’s called Celebration Rock–I was ready for a more Thin Lizzy vibe. It has a certain fuzzy ’90s feel to it, not a bad thing. There’s a youthful, celebratory vibe throughout the album, an homage to classic rock ‘n’ roll. It’s catchy without being poppy, fun but with substance. Try “For The Love Of Ivy,” “The House That Heaven Built,” and “The Nights Of Wine And Roses.” I could easily find myself at one of their live shows.