sat 20/07/2024

CD of the Year: Japandroids - Celebration Rock | reviews, news & interviews

CD of the Year: Japandroids - Celebration Rock

CD of the Year: Japandroids - Celebration Rock

Vancouver duo's second record is a short, sharp burst of nostalgia and adrenaline

Japandroids: their simple cover art and stark titles are their mission statement

It feels a little like cheating to call Celebration Rock, the second album from Vancouver duo Japandroids, an album at all. Featuring only eight songs, the whole thing is over and done with in a little over 35 minutes. Plenty of bands these days would be happy to file that under "extended play".

And yet, Japandroids squeeze so much into their alloted time that any more would be exhausting. This late in the year, it feels like giddy repetition to suggest that the album’s title is its mission statement; a summation as stark as the simple black and white cover art the band favours. The two-piece capture an intensity on record that the best live acts many times their number can only imitate on stage. Their half-yelled sloganeering and joyous woah-oah-oah choruses are positively life-affirming, lighting up the classic rock power chords that punctuate at least the first half of the album with the final fireworks of youth.

The songs themselves could easily be written off as superficial, the last gasp of the guy you’ve only ever met as the life and soul of the party raging “don’t we have anything to live for / well of course we do / but til they come true we’re drinking” against the rising of the light. As well as the one that goes woah-oah-oah there’s the one that goes oh-oh-yeah; and yet, as with all the great late-night philosophers, there are moments of genuine transcendence among the spit and the fury and the dreams. On “Adrenaline Nightshift”, lead vocalist Brian King is “waiting for our generation’s bonfire to begin”; “Evil’s Sway” is heavy with lust and confusion and coloured “sexual red”, and “Younger Us” feels the fear of looming adulthood and does it all anyway, one last time. “You’re not mine to die for anymore / so I must live" King yelps on “The House that Heaven Built”, the most perfect five minutes of an album that is nigh-on perfect. It’s the sound of an ever after that’s going to be alright - after one last dance.

Listen to "The House That Heaven Built"

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