Japandroids
Celebration Rock


4.0
excellent

Review

by Matt Wolfe EMERITUS
May 20th, 2012 | 764 replies | 38,005 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Three years after their debut, Japandroids return with more of the same. But is that a bad thing?

Celebration Rock points to the sky and pants, bursting through the finishing banner to the backing of firework snap, crackle and pop. Seven tracks powered by the ceaseless heartbeat of impulse finally culminate in an eighth track of jelly-legged exhaustion. Every last drop of strength is dug up from a thirsty reserve; it’s one foot in front of the other in a tremendous display of will, of desire, of self-belief. ‘Continuous Thunder’ signs Japandroids off with a different type of epic than that which they’ve become known for. It’s patient, restrained, and apprehensive, with one eye on the future rather than both on snatching the present. It’s the perfect ending to a blistering record. And as the last firework bursts I am filled to bursting with internal conflict.

From first to final explosion in the sky, I am tugged at the collar by the feeling something isn’t right. Huge, visceral sound? Check. Lyrics that make you want to pop the champagne on a Tuesday afternoon? Check. Group chants, gritty distortion and goosebump moments? Check, check, and check again. It’s all there. Here is the soundtrack to a one-way flight, the overture to a naked drunken plunge into the ocean. And yet, and yet… I was looking for something more. Greedy? Maybe. But why not? Why shouldn’t we demand development from our favourite bands? And the retort: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But that’s more than just a cheap idiom; this Vancouver duo are bloody awesome at what they do. Celebration Rock follows the path that its predecessor set, and in doing so discovers the same well of strength that allowed the Post-Nothing believers to bend the bars of caution and step out into the world of life-affirming risks.

The strangest thing, for me, is that this this simple, singular, self-assured message of opportunism – this message which fits so snugly into the tapestry of my own life-philosophy – leaves such a bitter taste in my mouth. I want to tell the boys to grow up, to become real men, to learn that life isn’t all about partying fireworks sex singing at the top of your lungs yeah yeah yeah yeah. We heard them sing about the exact same things three years ago. There are more important risks than these, risks with far more at stake, and sometimes, those risks, they backfire. My internal confliction shoehorns in the riposte: if you want songs about that ***, listen to another band. And, further, how can you make epic, anthemic, youth-celebrating songs about crippling fear, about crushing regret, about deathless cynicism, about being a fully rounded human, warts and all? But then: the best bands do.

But then, but then: this is only Japandroids’ second full-length, and they are not trying to change the world. They are two best friends who are singing when they’re winning, and keeping quiet when they’re not. Well, not quite. Unfortunately for my sanity, they aren’t that simple. They had attempted the sadder song on Post-Nothing: ‘I Quit Girls’ was a noisy, distorted, tidy mess of a song which lamented the trust placed in a certain female, a trust which was subsequently abused. Here was a risk which backfired to the extent the entire female population was ‘quit’. And it was beautiful. We do see a hint of this realism on ‘Continuous Thunder’, but it is only a hint. There is so much of the same here that it becomes a suffocation of motivation; ‘Adrenaline Nightshift’, especially in its track-position, may have been far better off as a hypothetical ‘Apathy Nights’, winding down for a moment with the same sludgy sound heard on ‘Crazy/Forever’ or ‘I Quit Girls’. Ironically, though, Celebration Rock appears to suffer from a fear of risk: the risk of upsetting the masses by evoking a wider, and thus darker, spectrum of emotions.

Don’t get me wrong, Celebration Rock is near-perfect in what it sets out to do: making people happy, bringing them together. Every track has a way of finding the dormant smile behind your face, whether that’s by its huge group chanting, its massive trigger moments, its nostalgic, inspiring lyrics, or King’s insurgent vocals. The improved production helps too, and is immediately evident on opener ‘The Nights of Wine and Roses’; yet there is no feeling of yearning for the old, messier, DIY sound. They incorporate that into the new by way of the throaty chants and fuzzy layers of distortion colouring outside the lines. They’ve also not lost their ability to create a massive song a la ‘Young Hearts Spark Fire’. ‘The House that Heaven Built’ appears to run on the sparks of defiance, with endorphins the overflowing by-product; it’s a four-minute-fifty powerhouse of inspiration, with the roared verses giving way to the line of the year in the song’s chorus: “If they try to slow you down / Tell ‘em all to go to hell.” But the biggest thing you take away from ‘The House That Heaven Built’ is the most important: King and Prowse absolutely love making music together, and that love has been poured into the music they make. That’s key, and it keeps Japandroids alive.

This internal conflict I speak of is surely not mine and mine alone, but for all of us who are feeling this way, we’d do well to not keep comparing Japandroids to that one annoying, shallow friend who constantly wants to party and wants you to party with him. Unlike him, you can have these guys around when you want and put them away when you don’t. And unlike him, these guys are simply doing what they love rather than avoiding reality. You could argue that those two can overlap, but I’m done arguing. For once, I’m not going to discard that classic crude argument: I am going to sit back, stop thinking, and ‘just enjoy it, man.’



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user ratings (468)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Ponton
Emeritus
May 20th 2012



5784 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

har

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
May 20th 2012



7314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I actually think I might prefer this to Post-Nothing.

robin
Emeritus
May 20th 2012



4241 Comments


just bought my ticket to see them on friday i am going to get drunk and be young. it's what they would want.

SeaAnemone
May 20th 2012



19727 Comments


It boggles my mind how a lot of people simply "like" this but don't "love" it half as much as I do... I mean I'm pretty sure I'm just being close-minded here but I legit don't understand how people don't find "The House That Heaven Built" the most like, life-affirming thing they've heard in forever.
And yeah it is very similar to Post-Nothing stylistically but I don't really care because it's also better.
This album makes me want to say things like "If you have this rated a 3.5 or below you don't know how to properly have fun," but that would be pretty douchey.

Digging: Towers - Bel Air Highrise Plantation

robin
Emeritus
May 20th 2012



4241 Comments


i'd like this band more if i wasn't boring

Masochist
May 20th 2012



7961 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm hoping this means there's a stream somewhere, or that it's been released in some country...

Minus The Flair
Emeritus
May 20th 2012



862 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

they're playing bristol tomorrow night. its a few hours away, i have no money, no one to go with, and nowhere to stay. if i went, i'd definitely be endorsing the japandroids message. but i'm (probably) not. sad.

Spare
May 20th 2012



5252 Comments


oh man shit didn't know this leaked or w/e fuck

Digging: Radiator Hospital - Torch Song

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
May 20th 2012



15727 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

damn now where am i gonna write my counterpoint to the haters

Digging: Joyce Manor - Never Hungover Again

Xenophanes
Emeritus
May 20th 2012



10585 Comments


downer and adrian and ali say this is really good

Digging: United Nations - The Next Four Years

Archelaos
May 20th 2012



241 Comments


And me.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
May 20th 2012



23798 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

"downer and adrian and ali say this is really good"

well yeah but they could release 30 minutes of fart noises and I'd still give it a 4

great review, I mostly agree. nice to see that Minus the Flair is writing again (sort of).

"i am going to get drunk and be young. it's what they would want."

hell yes.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
May 20th 2012



23798 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

when this finally streams i'm going to write the worst review ever which will basically say that I love this band because they're from where I'm from and they get drunk and stoned and stuff like me. it's going to be terrible, get pumped.

Ponton
Emeritus
May 20th 2012



5784 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

gotta be honest

i havent even listened to this =/

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
May 20th 2012



23798 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

haha are you serious?

Ponton
Emeritus
May 20th 2012



5784 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

yeah, actually

Ponton
Emeritus
May 20th 2012



5784 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

but ill listen

SeaAnemone
May 20th 2012



19727 Comments


gotta be honest this is a legit 5 in my book
a high 4.5 at the very least
been listening to it non-stop since it first leaked like a month ago and love it more with each listen
I'd argue the only weak spot is "For The Love Of Ivy"

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
May 20th 2012



23798 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

youre a strange one mr ponton

SeaAnemone
May 20th 2012



19727 Comments


nice rating aids

AND WE'RE STILL DRINKIN
DON'T WE HAVE ANYTHING TO LIVE FOR?
WELL OF COURSE WE DO BUT UNTIL THEY COME TRUE
WE'RE DRINKIN
...
We all want to know what nobody knows
What the nights of wine and roses hold
For the wine and roses of our souls
So we down our drinks to the final friends
And we burn our plans right down to the end
We don't cry for those nights to arrive
WE YELL LIKE HELL TO THE HEAVENS





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