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Japandroids - Celebration Rock (Cover Artwork)

Japandroids

Japandroids: Celebration RockCelebration Rock (2012)
Polyvinyl Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: greg0rbgreg0rb
(others by this writer | submit your own)

I fully support duos. With today's technology and gear, two people can make quite a racket. When I saw Vancouver duo Japandroids at the Polyvinyl 15th Anniversary Fest in Champaign-Urbana, Ill., I was floored by Brian King's guitar setup. I mean, I knew they were loud and guitar-fueled (obviously), .
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I fully support duos. With today's technology and gear, two people can make quite a racket. When I saw Vancouver duo Japandroids at the Polyvinyl 15th Anniversary Fest in Champaign-Urbana, Ill., I was floored by Brian King's guitar setup. I mean, I knew they were loud and guitar-fueled (obviously), but WHOA. Something like six speaker cabinets with selector pedals sending his axe to the different amps and cabs, each with different settings and effects. A gearhead's dream. What I wish I didn't see was them bitching endlessly at the sound guy, but that's neither here nor there.

Bookended by the popping of fireworks, Celebration Rock is no huge departure from the band's Post-Nothing mission statement in 2009, but the little twists on that style make it that much more satisfying of a record. Don't get me wrong, I liked their debut, but I liked it more in theory than in practice. It always seemed a little one note to me, with little variation in dynamics and tempo, turned to 11 at all times. "We always need to figure out how a song can be super fucking intense the entire time. Until that happens, it's not done." King said in a recent interview for Pitchfork, and in my humble opinion, that's a dumb way to write songs. Nothin' wrong with loud, but if you're gonna punch up the Get Up Kids' late-90's style of emo with sheets of shoegaze guitar, you gotta have a "Valentine" in there somewhere.

Their debut had ballads of sorts with "Crazy/Forever" and "I Quit Girls" but they were still so frickin' loud. There is not quite a "Valentine" acoustic ballad here (but MAN would that hit hard amongst their fuzzed-out fare) but they do dial it back a pinch on closer "Continuous Thunder," with King dropping below his standard sing/shout range to a nice baritone. But the one thing that really helps this "always loud" situation is that the David Prowse's drums drop out or pull back more often than before and King's guitar dials back the fuzz more frequently. Not too often though. Just enough to let the songs catch their breath.

Back to the rockers. Just as "The Boys Are Leaving Town" paid homage to Thin Lizzy, "Evil's Sway" nods to Tom Petty's "American Girl" with its "Oh yeah! Alright!" over a persistent beat. When King's guitar peaks in this song, that hit-you-in-the-chest sound that blew me away live is realized on tape. Post-Nothing always sounded more "noisy" than "powerful." Prowse's drums sound incredible here as well, I must note.

"For the Love of Ivy" has constant breakdowns and gaps, followed by a blitzkrieg to the song's big finish. "Younger Us" has great call-and-response vocals, and is therefore instantly singable. Single "The House That Heaven Built" has a dancey beat a la Death From Above 1979 and those amazing "Oh oh oh"s. And then there's the line "If they try to slow you down / Tell 'em all to go to hell." There's another mission statement if I've ever heard one.

Lyrically, the album is less about cheesy catchphrases to shout with your friends (I never liked that "French kiss some French girls" line anyway) and more about the struggles of being a full-time band, if not overtly, then bubbling beneath the surface. The band before you almost never was, nearly imploding in the short time between recording Post-Nothing the point at which the rest of the world caught on. Knowing this makes the songs resonate that much more, and leaves you feeling even more glad to have this sophomore record.

They stuck with it, and I for one am glad they did. I'm nitpicking with the problems with the album and this band in general, 'cause in the end, nothing feels better than two guys assaulting your eardrums like their life depends upon it.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
The Menzingers - On the Impossible PastThe Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundThe Clash - London CallingThe Flatliners - CavalcadeThe Gaslight Anthem - HandwrittenThe Gaslight Anthem - Sink or SwimBomb the Music Industry! - VacationThe Gaslight Anthem - American SlangThe Menzingers - Chamberlain WaitsJawbreaker - Dear You

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
misinterpreter (July 5, 2012)

Evil's Sway, House..., and Continuuous Thunder will go down as some of my favourite songs from this year. Fantastic album.

wellchangetheworldwesang (June 11, 2012)

Yup, that's pretty good.

calvinrhodes1 (June 11, 2012)

Love it! Evil's Sway, Adrenaline Nightshift and The House That Heaven Built are my favorites but the whole album is great.

Bryne (June 9, 2012)

It's perfect.

AmateurChemist (June 9, 2012)

This album is so beautifully nostalgic

thismikeisapipebomb (June 8, 2012)

Awesome album. Reminds me of the good times vibe that Hold Steady's 'Boys and Girls in America' has.

BluthCo (June 8, 2012)

This one's fighting "Giant Orange" for my album of the year so far.

greg0rb (June 8, 2012)

Polyvinyl only got this to me like 5 days ago, and for me, this was a blitzkrieg review (I like saying "blitzkrieg"). I know that this album rules and is better than Post-Nothing, but I wish I had had more time to digest it, honestly.

Cos (June 8, 2012)

Is this a review of Post-Nothing or Celebration Rock? It sounds like you'd rather talk about Post-Nothing instead.

Really, really good album. Great Friday night soundtrack. Can't wait to see them play again.

inagreendase (June 8, 2012)

(insert praise)

greg0rb (June 8, 2012)

It's too bad their press release is awful and I didn't get a full copy of the disc... don't know Gun Club well and didn't catch that cover. I fail.

danperrone (June 8, 2012)

amazing. early contender for AOTY. the only poor track is the gun club cover...the other seven are all great.

kiraface (June 8, 2012)

This album makes me want to punch the day in the face - but in a good way. SO GOOD.

conblake (June 8, 2012)

So good. "Continuous Thunder" makes me want to fall in love.

Zach_post (June 8, 2012)

I guess I'm in the minority. I thought post nothing was a much better album, but this album is better than most things coming out.

usversusthem (June 8, 2012)

Looking like this might beat out Bloom for AOTY. Fire's Highway is getting a lot of plays, Younger Us has been fantastic since 2010, and there are 3-5 other tracks I am digging at any one time. Really nice stuff.

SummerSucks (June 8, 2012)

Snore rock. I thought their 15 minutes were up.

laserguidedbygod (June 8, 2012)

So this whole review is basically about how you didn't really love Post-Nothing?

fuzzbrain (June 8, 2012)

This is definitely the album of the summer.

boobthemusicindustry (June 8, 2012)

My two favorite albums in the past two years have been book-ended by fireworks.

MN_DrNick (June 8, 2012)

Great stuff.

slymer (June 8, 2012)

Album of the year. No doubt.

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