Japandroids – Celebration Rock (Polyvinyl)
The most frustrating thing about Japandroids is that there is barely a hint of complexity, and within the first minute or so of any random song of theirs–be it from Post Nothing or their new sophomore effort Celebration Rock–you’ll have these guys completely figured out. Distorted guitars, driving drums, anthemic chorus, and repeat. There should be no reason within the band’s recorded grooves to cause much of an internal commotion.
Yet here I am, trying to put that surprise outburst to words, struggling to find the appropriate weight of just how good Japandroids second album is, particularly since this tasty apple doesn’t fall that far from the branches of their debut.
It’s better than Post Nothing because it’s a step further. Each song sounds epic enough that the fact they’re a duo doesn’t even enter the equation. They all tend to get louder the farther into the song you get and with each increase, the listener tends to get even more worked up. By the end of Celebration Rock, I had an uncontrollable urge to look for their tour schedule. Because if they can stir up that kind of adrenaline rush, sitting complacently on my couch, then being in the same room of other devotes would most certainly feel revolutionary.
It’s also better because they’re older. Droids Brian Smith (guitar) and David Prowse (drums) are getting ready to hit thirty soon, but they’ve thankfully seen what’s coming with their encroaching middle age and have decided to enter it kicking and screaming. Lucky for us, Celebration Rock lets us live vicariously through that realization, and best of all they’ve made the chord structures easy enough for all of us to learn.
Wanna know their trick? Great songs. Japandroids not only subscribe to the less is more formula in terms of membership, they’ve trimmed the fat so much that the record is a blast–both literally and figuratively–clocking in at a mere thirty-five minutes in Celebration Rock’s eight songs.
Celebration Rock marks the very rare occasion when the middle-age contrarians knee deep in their own nostalgic fog can co-mingle with the dwindling youth who still think rock and roll is worth a damn. It’s an exuberant reminder of the genre’s strength, particularly when it’s fueled with nothing more than a pair of young men with full hearts, a few drinks and some instruments to help translate their angst.
MP3: Japandroids – “The House That Heaven Built” (Via Epitonic)