Release Date: Jun 5, 2012
Record label: Polyvinyl
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Imagine a different Eighties: The Replacements made Born in the USA, Hüsker Dü were Hulk Hogan's entrance music, and indie rock was the keggercrushing choice of Top Gun America. On their second LP, Vancouver drums-guitar duo Japandroids sing about lost youth and sex and drinking atop hammer-of-the-geeks distortion swirls and holler-along refrains a gorilla could pump some paw to. It's just eight songs (including a scorchedearth oldie by Eighties L.A.
At first glance, it’s easy to mistake Japandroids’ Celebration Rock for a carbon copy of 2009’s Post-Nothing: Aside from the nearly identical packaging, the duo’s latest also reunites them with the same producer, makes use of the same handful of instruments, and sticks to the same reverb-heavy aesthetic. Both albums even offer the same number of songs. Considering how great an album Post-Nothing was and how its success kept Japandroids from calling it quits, it’s understandable that the band might look to repeat it.
Unlike many of 2009's breakout indie bands, Vancouver's Japandroids weren't hanging onto their youth out of nostalgia. For this duo, it literally sounded like a matter of life and death. While the chaotic, fist-pumping anthems of Post-Nothing were as reckless, hormonal, and pleasure-obsessed as any teenager, escapism wasn't an option. Singer/guitarist Brian King and drummer David Prowse have admitted that Japandroids were shutting down the operation after years of going nowhere, and Post-Nothing was as meant as a swan song more than a debut.
JapandroidsCelebration Rock[Polyvinyl; 2012]By Brendan Frank; May 29, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetWhy do we celebrate? It might just be our most universal ritual, but it’s also unique to time, place, and culture, and it’s a little different for everyone. It’s a joyous thing, but otherwise there are no real rules. Whether you want to preserve, uphold, commemorate or just forget, there’s a good chance that Japandroids can empathize.
Think of being young, and summer likely comes to mind. It’s a classic trope of American youth that our summers were full of wild rides, big parties, and love affairs. We jumped in the pool fully clothed and smoked cigarettes outside the show, soaked in sweat, bruised from the pit. Summer tempts us to be that kid again, 17 and without responsibilities, brimming with hopes and passions.
They’re just two dudes from Vancouver. Drums, guitar, a big open heart and the earnest self-involvement to think their poetry needs projection. Japandroids is a silly name for a very, very serious band. Brian King and David Prowse write songs about the way we’re supposed to remember rock music; drinking a lot, clinking teeth, campfires, crowdsurfing for the first time, driving with the windows down, staring at stars – all those blatant fantasies, that poetic American experience that only seems to exist in record grooves.
Something interesting has happened to rock music in the past few years. First of all, the digital age has turned into a place that doesn’t champion collective experience and, by extension, the true power of rock music. Artists create music in their bedrooms, creating lush records that we then listen to in our bedrooms. We’re inundated with and celebrate the shut-in wunderkinds, the Garage-Band layering, the headphones record.
Most artists start grumbling about touring on their second or third album. Japandroids, however, dived right in on their first: Post-Nothing was a record which belied the duo’s knockabout image - and the presence of the odd superficially upbeat banger – to offer an introspective, reverb-heavy account of how life on the road is a headfuck. Insofar as it’s common for bands to begin their careers with their most raucous, energised record and then start slowing down and grumping out afterwards, Celebration Rock sounds oddly more like a debut than Post-Nothing.
Japandroids’ Brian King and David Prowse admitted that they were at the point of breaking up just after recording Post-Nothing, when it suddenly exploded and became a critically adored sensation. Never fans of recording, the unexpected success -- largely due to Pitchfork’s promotion of the track “Young Hearts Spark Fire” -- gave the duo a chance to tour for two years and get a taste of what they considered fun, playing the music for as many people as possible. When they returned to the studio for their follow-up, they aimed for new songs that stadium crowds would feel; huge, simple shout-along anthems, with springy “whoa-oh ohs” and “oh yeahs” as hooks, sung from a drunken partier’s perspective.
Fireworks sizzle, drums sound, guitars flare. From beginning to end, Japandroids (singer/guitarist Brian King and drummer David Prowse) pull all the stops for Celebration Rock, an eight-song (well, seven) collection of indie rock party music. Following the acclaim of their debut LP, Post-Nothing, their second album encapsulates those moments we all share, when all seems right with the world, the atmosphere plies us with euphoria and our company couldn’t be more perfect.
You remember when you were about 16 or 17 at school, and there was that shit kid in your class who was kinda book-smart but mistook his own cod-cynicism for Wildean wit? Well now he has his confirmed musical equivalent in Japandroids, whose debut Post Nothing saw them leap straight into the apathy and weariness of being in a touring band and whose sophomore effort Celebration Rock continues the trend of having a title less than one-tenth as wry as it thinks it is. .
Funny sort of party, this ‘Celebration Rock’. The second album from noise-punk duo Japandroids (you have no idea how much we wanted to type No Age then) works every straining sinew to convince you what enormous fun you must be having in its company, but still winds up striking a curiously sour note. First they’re telling us “[i]Don’t we have anything to live for? Well of course we do/But until it comes true, we’re drinking[/i]” (‘The Nights Of Wine And Roses’), then they’re all “[i]You’re not mine to die for anymore, so I must live[/i]” on the Replacements-do-‘Born In The USA’ rawk of ‘The House That Heaven Built’.
JAPANDROIDS play Lee’s Palace on June 23. See listing. Rating: NNN The sound of crackling fireworks begins and ends Japandroids' second album, and in between are eight of the most energetic, party-starting rock songs you're likely to hear all year. The Vancouver duo couldn't have picked a more apt title.
In his novel The Informers, Brett Easton Ellis tells the interconnected stories of various pretty young things in mid-1980's California. Consumed by debauchery, casual betrayal and cosmetic improvement, the novel's characters exist amid a widespread assault on the soul. "Things falling apart", Ellis writes, "fading, another year...a boredom so monumental it humbles".
Every track’s an anthem, every second precious, on this breathless new album. Reef Younis 2012 Inaction almost killed Japandroids. Inhibited by geography, frustrated by logistics and stifled by a lack of progress, debut album Post Nothing was an apathetic statement to that effect – an album created with purpose and intent but released out of stubborn love and flat-lining dedication.
Second time around, Vancouver, BC duo Japandroids come out swinging, creating a record that's harder, better, faster and stronger than their excellent debut, 2009's Post Nothing. Anyone expecting sweeping changes to the duo's sound - big anthems filtered through Hüsker Dü's New Day Rising - will be disappointed, as the record lives up to its title, delivering pedal to the metal rock throughout its eight tracks. However, they'd also be missing the point - one listen to barnstorming first single "The House that Heaven Built" and it's clear that Japandroids aren't interested in crafting artful soundscapes.
Vancouver anthem punks Japandroids got started hollering about French-kissing some French girls. On sophomore effort Celebration Rock, they're still "yelling like hell to the heavens." Brian King and David Prowse are old enough for prudence, but they heartily crank those erstwhile years when teenaged bullshit made all the sense in the world. Armed with molten guitars and rocketship drums, these two crank earth-shattering hooks, squeezing tears and bloody fist pumps out of heaven's mosh pit.