Japandroids’ second album Celebration Rock kicks off with energy and a rocking beat. It doesn’t stray far from the sound they established on their previous record (Post-Nothing) but it still sounds fresh. For those new to the Canadian rockers, Japandroids are an interesting dichotomy: A band sounding very unpolished and yet also very polished at the same time. They put a lot of effort into keeping a raw, unrefined edge to their songs and yet they are so tight knit that they always sound very organised. Their second album has seen some more effort going into the production of their sound, which will appeal to anyone who was frustrated by the slight degree to which lyrics got lost in their self-titled debut. This does not happen on this album, with lyrics and intention clear throughout most, if not all, of the tracks.
An incredibly young sounding record with the tight sound of a band that one would, if they didn’t know, assume has been touring for years. For all of you rock fans out there, you have to own this album. Clocking in at under 40 minutes, it is not long enough to start sounding tired. It does leave you feeling a little bit disappointed there is not more, but in this period of excessive folking, where albums frequently repeat with the listener unable to tell where each song begins or ends, there is something to be said for a short album crammed full of rocking songs that are easily distinguishable.
There are many stand out tracks on this album: Evil’s Sway will obviously be a crowd favourite with its rough and rowdy singalong choruses and while Adrenaline Nightshift might not feature the album’s best vocals, it definitely has quite a few “Holy Shit” moments that are making it one of our favourite new tracks. Younger Us is definitely our favourite though, a call to arms of the not quite young enough crowd of which Japandroids are part of. Not quite young enough to be that naive but also not really old enough to be reminiscing, this is a song that speaks volumes about the band and is very catchy. Add in a quick mid-song wig out and a nice overdriven fade out, what’s not to love about a group who can be so brazenly honest and refreshingly raw?
Japandroids are a breath of fresh air in the overly calculating folk-driven music market we currently live in. Their pulsating energy, memorable lyrics and loud, overdriven sound, embed this record in your memory and will have you coming back for more time and again. A must have!