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Album Review: Japandroids - Near To The Wild Heart Of Life

23 January 2017 | 3:35 pm | Pete Laurie

"Eight more songs that are sure to destroy when played live."

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Two blokes, eight songs, just over 30 minutes of music. That's some incredible economy from Japandroids.

But what's more incredible is the punch packed by Near To The Wild Heart Of Life. It never feels slight, rushed or in any way lacking. In this tight half hour of riffing guitars and thunderous drums, they find room for plenty of the Japandroids signature sweaty, breakneck rock'n'roll in songs like the title track and No Known Drink Or Drug. They find room for soaring fist raisers like In A Body Like A Grave and the ode to their native Canada, North East South West. They even find room for a rare moment of more subdued introspection in the synth heavy, seven-and-a-half-minute epic Arc Of Bar, which somehow actually sustains its full seven-and-a-half minutes.

There's more melody, more dynamics and more of a build to this latest batch of songs. This means less balls to the wall, machine gun attacks of unhinged rock, but Near To The Wild Heart Of Life lacks none of the immediacy or heart-pounding energy of its predecessors.

And while it sounds great coming out of earbuds and stereo speakers, the best part of this record is that it delivers eight more songs that are sure to destroy when played live — which is where Japandroids have always been at their best.

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