Japandroids – Celebration Rock

Japandroids Celebration Rock Review

Youth is something that is over-romanticized: Dorian Gray cast the physically deteriorating effects of age onto a portrait,  Michael Jackson slept in an oxygen chamber to keep his skin tight and wrinkle-free, and a legendary fountain that restores youth to anyone who drinks from it has cemented its position into common folklore. Simply put, our world has placed a heavy emphasis on “the best days of our lives.” Japandroids’ Celebration Rock, captures the beauty, irresponsibility, and existential persona of that sought after five letter word, “youth.” In 2009, the noisy duo released Post-Nothing, a critically acclaimed lo-fi punk-rock album that burned cigarette shaped  holes of passion into a myriad of teenage tattered jorts. Celebration Rock follows the same hormonal, determined nature of Post-Nothing, but boasts a more confident and wiser demeanor.

The album opens up with a crackle of celebratory fireworks on “The Nights of Wine and Roses.” David Prowse’s pulsating drums give the opener a fist-pumping heartbeat, and Brian King’s beer-goggled lyrics kickoff the youthful existentialism of Celebration Rock. “Fire’s Highway” sounds similar to the band’s most popular song from Post-Nothing, “Young Hearts Spark Fire,” but includes even more background vocal “woh-oh’s” that the band is known for. “Evil’s Sway” continues on with what Japandroids does best: making incredibly noisy, catchy, and chanting lo-fi anthems. The duo’s stab at break-neck rockabilly is intriguing and enduring on “For The Love of Ivy.” If The Cramps were to take cocaine instead of LSD, this would be the result. “Adrenaline Nightshift” includes some of King’s catchiest melodies and takes on a more poignant examination of never-ending nights. “Younger Us,” a single from 2010, deserves all the acclaim it earned; it is an absolute anthem. The first single from Celebration Rock, “The House That Heaven Built,” finds King screaming about a relationship that slipped out of his fingers. The album’s closer, “Continuous Thunder” is by far the saddest song on the album. King revisits a rain-drenched, heartfelt memory with an ex-girlfriend. The song has a very Blink-182 feel to it but does not fall victim to simplicity or cliches. It’s a melancholy but brilliant album closer.

Celebration Rock is exactly what the title suggests: a celebration of the flame-like nature of youth. It is a pounding, distorted album that makes you want to half-chug-half-spill a beer while simultaneously giving your ex-girlfriend a big middle finger. King and Prowse have tried so hard to make a record that is about the apathy of youth that they ironically have created a record that is as ambitious as a young stock-broker. On Celebration Rock, Japandroids have provided an antidote to the seemingly indifferent attitude our universe has toward us: fun. The garage rocking duo finds our inevitable death and age mentally and physically taxing, but never lets that get in the way of having fun.

-Ryan Ricks



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