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Album Review: Japandroids – Celebration Rock

After what feels like far too long a wait, Japandroids have finally returned to eager fans’ ears. Smashing through boundaries of boredom and laziness with their trademark unpredictability and angst-driven rock, this release highlights a sense of progression and further purity from a band that are simply never going to lose touch with who they are.

Fuelled by the raw, reckless guitar and drum set-up that pays tribute to garage musicians with nothing but passion and pipedreams, Japandroids have been able to achieve gross amounts of credibility through their youthful and honest approach to rock music. These 8 fresh tracks packed with anthemic choruses, off the cuff riffs and fresh tempos require immense talent to produce right and there is absolutely no doubt that David Prowse and Brian King’s acclaim comes well deserved.

It’s rare that musicians’ energy levels can be comprehended directly through studio recordings, but this upbeat duo manage to successfully portray cramming as much physical effort into three to five minute parcels as they can – conveying brutal amounts of hardship at the best of times. Similarly to listening to Cloud Nothings, when you put on this Japandroids record you instantly crave them to be there playing right in front of you due to the spontaneous physical urges gained from such enigmatic, provocative songs.

There’s little time to stop and breathe throughout Celebration Rock. ‘Younger Us’ was teased to us roughly a year ago now, and the rest that follows lives up to what Japandroids should be, and indeed are all about. Through subtle structural tweaks, each track has its own unique significance despite such a recognisable overall identity. The muffled consistency that runs through means that this album – just like their previous releases will just keep getting better as a whole piece of work the more times you listen.

Opening and concluding with fireworks represents the idea of this celebration from two music lovers who want to do little more but emphasise how awesome and emotively fucked up growing up can be. Rarely does an album scream such nostalgia through songs that you’ve only just listened to for the first time. I can only really put this down to the fact that few other contemporary bands really sound or play like this.

Celebration Rock ultimately reflects being young, expressive and emotive in the most refreshing manner. Musically, this record barges lifeless guitar bands (what’s left of them) out of the way – putting them to shame in the process and waking everyone else the fuck up.

From experience, the people who really love Japandroids are the ones who wish they were able to be screaming out on stage. Blaring this record out until they decide to tour again is as satisfyingly close to that experience as it currently gets.

-James Uden

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