Japandroids is my favorite band making music right now. There’s your disclaimer. I’m biased and I’m a sucker for what they are all about. I pre-ordered Celebration Rock about two months ago. The album won’t be officially released until June 5th, but pre-order downloads became available today. This is a momentous occasion, an occasion worthy of a celebration. And, of course, a review. As I listened to Celebration Rock for the first time, I jotted down anything that came to mind. Below is a transcription of that process followed by a brief and initial reaction to this highly anticipated follow-up to 2009’s Post-Nothing.
– Oh my god I’m so excited
– Crackles and drums. Let’s go.
– Feedback yeeee
– Classic rock-esque riff. Huge drums.
– Oh hey Brian. Love you.
– They still are clinging to youth.
– Oh oh oh ohhh ohhaaaooh chorus. Classic.
– Big explosion with a minute left. Powerful. Hell yeah.
– Great end to a solid first track. The Nights of Wine and Roses is not my favorite by the guys but definitely in their wheelhouse.
– Twenty seconds in and Fire’s Highway kicks serious ass already.
– Faster, cheerier, still punching
– Love you Brian.
– Some really nice counter “ohh”s from David. Missed you.
– That guitar tone is tasty as ever, David’s chops are better too.
– New territory at 2:45. Loving this one so far.
– Guitar to the stratosphere, burn out, synchronized punches, OH’s, Brian King
– Sing a –along bridge and pre-chorus. Pounding bass drum. Snare. Burn.
– Chords to start Evil’s Sway aren’t so classically Japandroids but are awesome nonetheless.
– They build into something better.
– The duo is tighter on this record. Hitting and driving forward as one. As passionate as ever.
– Catchiest chorus so far.
– The bum-crack of the bass and snare, drone of feedback, King’s voice, more punches. Yes.
– Pre-chorus chords are powerful as all hell.
– Getting shivers. This is the best track of the three so far.
– With a minute left. Going to break down?
– Nope, more fast driving chorus.
– For the Love of Ivy, this one’s a cover of a Gun Club song.
– Punk rock.
– This one’s pretty standard, best moments come when the guitar stops and it’s just King’s voice and Prowse’s drums catapulting into raucous verses.
– Tight ending.
– Prowse kickin ass on the intro to this one, fast snare cascades.
– Same with the pre-chorus.
– So far this album features more conventional rock songs, not that that’s a good or bad thing. It’s Japandroids. It’s awesome regardless.
– So well executed and still ragged and jangly in the best way possible but tightened up if that makes sense. The band still has the same timbre; it’s just honed in and feels more intentional.
– Adrenaline Nightshift is just straight up classic songwriting. Not classic Japandroids. Classic.
– Younger Us. We know this one from the single released about a year ago. Loved it then and love it now.
– That long feedback fade before the pre chorus picks up….
– The four to the floor at the end of the pre chorus…..
– This is summer, this is love, this is passion, this is wanting something so damn bad.
– That breakdown with huge tom runs, feedback to a thousand…
– And bliss.
– One of the best songs of the last two years. Hands down.
– The House That Heaven Built. Released about a month ago, so another one not new to me.
– Loved it then and love it now.
– “Tell em aaaaaal to go to hell”
– Second verse with those big backbeats, the guitar, the “oh”s
– They build and build
– Drums drop and they’re getting ready for the kill
– Chord progression on the chorus is too satisfying
– The little riff to end too, good touch
– Last track, Continuous Thunder.
– As the album closes, I don’t see the same arc that there was to Post-Nothing but based on interviews with King it doesn’t seem like the duo’s first album was as concepty as I had assumed.
– This one feels like an anthem when the big drums enter on the word “thunder”. Nice text painting there.
– This one sits in a comfortable, big, place.
– Good way to end the album. It doesn’t peter out but it doesn’t build leaving you wanting another chorus. It’s satisfying.
This album is fast, pushing, burning and blistering. It is punk rock, rock and roll, noise. It doesn’t take time to breathe like Post-Nothing does. There are no lulls, no breaks. It’s unrelenting and fun as hell. The songs are more tightly composed. King and Prowse have honed their interplay and teamwork. The production is ratcheted up, but the sensibility remains. The spirit does too. The sound that defined Japandroids for me after hearing Post-Nothing, the scruffy and fuzzy, near primal but intelligent and passionate sound, is still firmly intact. With that said, Celebration Rock has a different tone. King and Prowse continue to cling to every last night and every last drink and the album still lives very much in the present, but it has more self-awareness. As relentless as it is, it’s more emotionally measured. The constant theme of maintaining youth is more defined, more reasoned. It’s a great rock album. It’s about being young and careless. More than that, it’s about cherishing the feeling of being young and careless. There’s a knowledge about the duo’s words and sound that says that youth is not eternal. Post-Nothing found King and Prowse apprehensive about this discovery and trying desperately to drown it out. Celebration Rock sees them embracing it, throwing caution to the wind and playing loud, fast, cathartically. Fist to the sky and care to the wind, this album is youth.