Celebration Rock

Written by: TL on 20/06/2012 15:08:13

Here's an album that's been getting some well deserved buzz around the intertubes lately. "Celebration Rock", the sophomore album by Toronto two-piece Japandroids, came out worldwide about two weeks ago, and since then one has had to look very hard to find anyone giving it a negative response. And seeing as I gave away my own position in my very first sentence as well, let me just get right down to detailing why I personally think this disc deserves the praise coming its way.

First off, "Celebration Rock" has a vibe that's nowhere near as unfriendly or unfocused as similarly noise-obsessed post-punk outfits may be. Granted, the duo - Brian King on guitar/vocals and David Prowse on drums/vocals - probably use every effect and loop pedal they can find to build their sound being only the two of them, but on "Celebration Rock" the noise is not the point so much as is the progression, the drive and the utterly contagious energy. You see; this album's essential quality is blatantly clear from the title that adorns it, over the sound of fireworks that open and close it, to the vibrant, electrifying music it produces: It wants to be revitalising, it wants to be triumphant and it wants to be celebratory, and the remarkable thing about it is that it manages this so well, so consistently, that not even once in the course of its eight songs are you likely to feel that the band is hindered by only having four hands.

Now, it may not sound like rocket science - and I don't think it is - but still, Japandroids hardly sound like any other band I can think of, and they are indeed only vaguely similar to the ones listed in the For The Fans Of section below here. "Celebration Rock" has a fuzzy indie/punk sound comparable to Cloud Nothings, it has a wild, forward storming energy similar to that of Titus Andronicus and it has a sort of exhilarating positivity that doesn't sound too far from that of slightly lighter counterparts like Driver Friendly and The Fashion, yet it doesn't really sound so much like any one of those bands on their own, and this I think is another feather in Japandroids' cap.

In fact, if you were to take a critical angle, the worst thing you'd want to talk about is the fact that at eight tracks and only 35 minutes, the Japandroids' have likely (and wisely) been aware of the limits to their own diversity. Except for two songs, Japandroids go for pretty much the same vibe and energy for the entire album, and of the two the Gun Club cover "For The Love Of Ivy" is personally my least favourite song on here, due to the way it foregoes melody to descend into a more simplistic, frantic romp.

The other one of the two however, the album closer "Continous Thunder", is one of the album's best songs, as it works wonders when Japandroids finally ease up on the gas and conjure up a moment that sounds as stadium-ready as an Oasis classic. Moreover, it's the perfect climax to an album that overcomes its own homogeneity by simply getting better as it moves on. Not that I don't think 7 of the album's 8 tracks are highly recommendable, but if you were to ask me for highlights, I'd name track 2; "Fire's Highway", track 5, "Adrenaline Nightshift" and tracks 7 and 8, "The House That Heaven Built" and "Continous Thunder", and then I'd probably recommend them in the reverse order, because Japandroids simply manage to get more powerful and more potent as they go along. Such a quality only fits an album titled "Celebration Rock" though, an album that does indeed sound like the soundtrack to a victory party from one end to the other.


Download: The House That Heaven Built, Continous Thunder, Fire's Highway, Adrenaline Nightshift
For The Fans Of: Titus Andronicus; Cloud Nothings; Driver Friendly; The Fashion; Hammonds Harrington & Destroy
Listen: facebook.com/japandroids

Release Date 05.06.2012
Polyvinyl Record Co.

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