Japandroids – Celebration Rock (Polyvinyl Records / April 2012)
By Alexandra Petropoulos
Japandroids crashed onto the scene in 2009 with their first album, Post-Nothing, of thrashing, youth-inspired indie-rock. While the album was an all-out garage rock bundle of sound, it left you wanting, with a twinge of the unintentionally unpolished and boyishly untamed. Three years later and Celebration Rock is tighter, bigger and better.
The duo from Vancouver, BC – Brian King and David Prowse – have mastered the art of the ruckus. The album starts strong and charges through the eight tracks in an exhilarating rush of drums and guitars that would be completely exhausting if it weren’t for the overall verve and vitality.
It’s this liveliness that makes me love this album so much. The hooks are dynamic and catchy and choruses packed full of irresistible ‘whoa-oh’s. The tracks are loud, but not whiney. Emotional, but not angry.
It is a decidedly emotional album; the youth-inspired lyrics lending it a teenage quality. The lyrics shift back and forth between the mundane and complex as much as any reactionary 14 year-old. ‘The Nights of Wine and Roses’ and ‘Younger Us’ are more or less about drinking, whereas ‘House that Heaven Built’, the finest track on the album, is a song of encouragement – “When they love you, and they will, tell them all they’ll love in my shadow. And if they try to slow you down, tell them all to go to hell.”
Another of the outstanding tracks is the cover of The Gun Club’s ‘For the Love of Ivy’. Japandroids adeptly inject their drive into a non-stop punk piece.
There’s nothing new about Celebration Rock, but that’s not to its detriment. It all sounds familiar and will have you singing along in no time. This is a case of exactly what it says on the tin. It’s celebrating all that is good about thrashing, fun rock. The unrelenting vigour will leave you breathless but completely satisfied.