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Canadian Duo, Japandroids’ “Celebration Rock” is Spectacular

Posted by Mike Moynahan on 09/19 at 05:56 PM


Grade: A+

Japandroids, the Canadian indie-rock duo, released their new album, Celebration Rock, this past June 5th on Polyvinyl Record Co. Clocking in at just over thirty-five minutes and consisting of only eight tracks, one might think this record wouldn’t have much to offer. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. From opening guitar riffs on the opening track, “The Nights of Wine and Roses” the group - made up of guitarist-vocalist Brian King and drummer-vocalist David Prowse - doesn’t slow down. It’s a classic rock album that just happened to be recorded in 2011, and released worldwide on June 5, 2012. “Don’t we have anything to live for?,” they ask in their opener: “Well of course we do, but until they come true we’re drinking. “ So begins an idea that continues with each track on the album: Enjoy being young while you are young.

“Fire’s Highway” follows with the same upbeat pace and howling vocals. We hear a struggle between good and evil begin to develop with lines like, “Hearts from hell collide on fire’s highway tonight.” We see titles such as “Evil’s Sway” which draws inspiration from Tom Petty’s “American Girl” for its chorus as the guys shout “oh yeah! Alright! On the lash and lashing out, it’s evil’s sway tonight.” Another track “The House that HeavenBuilt” shows the opposite end of the spectrum with an opening line that’s near biblical, “I happened on a house built of living light where everything evil disappears and dies,” and a chorus that is seeping with optimism mixed with an aura of self-confidence as the duo scream, “when they love you, and they will, tell ‘em all they’ll love in my shadow. And if they try to slow you down, tell ‘em all to go to hell.” The theme of youth is highlighted specifically in “Younger Us” with lines like: “Remember saying things like ‘we’ll sleep when we’re dead and thinking this feeling was never gonna end?’” Throughout the chorus the line “Give me younger us,” is sung over and over.

The instrumentation on the album sounds like it was an absolute blast to record, but will be even more exciting to play live when fans scream the lyrics back at the band. Soaring guitars and snare hits that act as the pulsing heartbeat of youth provide the backdrop for the eight songs that make up one of this year’s best new albums. The music pulls the listener in right off the bat and the lyrics reinforce the fact this album is worth listening to on repeat. There isn’t a weak track on the album and that’s a testament to how hard King and Prowse worked to make each track stand out as a special piece of artistry.

Celebration Rock is a summer album meant to be enjoyed in the presence of your best friends. In fact, Rolling Stone even listed it as one of “The 10 Coolest Summer Albums of All Time.” It’s a coming of age composition that is nostalgic yet remains hopeful that the good times aren’t over. You’re never too old to get your friends together, throw back a couple cold ones and put on a favorite album. If you give Celebration Rock a chance, it will become one of your favorites over time. Just give it a listen.

Grab Celebration Rock on iTunes, from the band, or Amazon:

{name} Author: Mike Moynahan
Bio: Mike Moynahan is a senior majoring in English and minoring in Media Studies. In addition to writing, he co-hosts the Indie 500 show every Wednesday at 7PM on The LION 90.7fm. He enjoys watching T.V. (especially Breaking Bad), digging deep into the bowels of Netflix for instant viewing when he’s bored, reading and napping in his free time. No artists will ever be greater than the Beatles or Elliott Smith but he commends the rest of the pack for trying their best. Some of his current favorites include The Gaslight Anthem, The Weakerthans, Death Cab for Cutie, The Front Bottoms, Titus Andronicus, Arcade Fire, Built to Spill, Manchester Orchestra, Kevin Devine, The Hold Steady, Los Campesinos!, Bon Iver, and Coldplay. Especially Coldplay.

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