Album Review: Japandroids - Celebration Rock

16 June 2012 | 5:33 pm | Sevana Ohandjanian

The voices shout, the guitars grind abrasively and the lyrics demand anthemic status.

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If the title of Canadian duo Japandroids' second LP didn't give away the kind of music to be found within, the sound of fireworks exploding on opening track, The Nights Of Wine And Roses, should make it abundantly clear. The tone is set early on with Celebration Rock; the voices shout, the guitars grind abrasively and the lyrics demand anthemic status, moreso than they did on the band's debut, Post-Nothing.

Yet the nihilism of their aforementioned debut still persists in tunes such as Younger Us, a song that carries a universal nostalgia in lines like “remember when we said things like we'll sleep when we're dead”. The carefree way in which Brian King and David Prowse throw together their songs makes them all the more intangibly celebratory. There's a desperation for the past married to the joy of reminiscing here, a tenuous balance that Japandroids have always been able to strike. Metaphors abound in Fire's Highway, an ode to love found between strangers on city streets. A pleasant surprise is to be found in their cover of The Gun Club's For The Love Of Ivy: if there ever was a song bred for the lo-fi reverb world of Japandroids, it'd be this. Swaggering cries, screeching guitars and racing percussion make it a taut rendition. The tracklist placing of it midway through the record is a bold choice, but it's a total victory.

It's impossible to not be buoyed by the euphoric garage noise spanning this tight, eight-track record. If you haven't lived the stories in these songs, you want to, and you want Celebration Rock to be the soundtrack.