Review Summary: The band has already dealt with their pessimism, and now they've spat in its face.
The distant crackle of fireworks on opener "The Nights of Wine and Roses" is almost too soft and understated to merit the title of the Vancouver garage-rock duo Japandroids' sophomore album, Celebration Rock
. It's opening reservation is almost too calm to be counted as celebratory, but by the time the feedback leads up to David Prowse and Brian King's combative yelling chants, there's no question about their intention, direction or course of action. In the very first song alone, the duo is drinking, smoking and yelling. But when they drink, they're drinking "in a funnel of friends"; when they smoke, they burn their "blends right down to the end"; and when they yell, they "yell like hell to the heavens." It's an album for the young and the restless, the wild and the wholly damned.
It's not too far off or different from their 2009 debut, Post-Nothing
. In a simple guitar-and-drum vein, Japandroids continue to chug on with passion-filled lyrics and an attitude of "do till you die." Even on "Younger Us" where they show a little human frailty in their simple desire to be young again, they're still making boisterous claims: "we'll sleep when we're dead!" And altogether, they sound like a pair ready to give it their all till there's nothing left to give.
was also a boisterous rock album about sticking it to the man, getting drunk, and chasing women, but it always came as a double-edged sword. Whether it was a dying scene, a dying relationship or a simple fear of death, Japandroids always had a lingering sensation of what lay on the other side of a life of constant partying. To them, all parties would end, all bars would close and eventually all songs would die. But the real-life Japandroids must have discovered something else in the three years since that release, as they celebrate the fact that they're still a band, still making the music they love.
, their style remained pretty much the same. The cover of Post-Nothing
and Celebration Rock
are almost identical, they still have an eight-song track list, and the structures are still straightforward verse-chorus-verse. Yet this time, they have a reason to call their album Celebration Rock
, if nothing else but for the simple fact that they have another album to give us. They're still around, they're still partying and they're still rocking out. In the midst of other ode-to-rock-n-roll groups (Cloud Nothings and Titus Andronicus, among others), the point is that there is cause to celebrate and King and Prowse have no plans of backing down. By the time the album ends on "Continuous Thunder," the singer is talking about walking hand-in-hand with another "Through cold, pissing rain / Dressed to the nines" and they're "Singing out loud / Like continuous thunder." The stark image of a couple singing in the rain with all of their might sums up the album perfectly. The band has already dealt with their pessimism, and now they've spat in its face.