The music industry needs bands like Japandroids to make it big.
They’ve steered away from overproduced music but still make it incredibly catchy. They shine a light on Vancouver's often-ignored music scene, a city seemingly caught in an identity crisis between posh condos and old punk breeding ground. And after all the Pitchfork et al. hype for 2009’s Post Nothing, this year’s Celebration Rock did nothing if not top it.
Sure, you could call it goofy when Brian King sings “We yell like hell to the heavens,” but it’s also pretty goddamn triumphant. With the borderline-AC/DC intro to the album, and that unmistakably Marshall-feedback building over everything in “Adrenaline Nightshift,” they’ve churned out another eight-song record without one ounce of filler—their garage rock sound huge enough for arenas. And while Japandroids are still leaps and bounds away from that stature, it’s a conceivable future if the band’s just hitting their stride.
Considering one of the best songs had already been released, Celebration Rock goes down like a big EP— and it can't seem to get out of my record rotation since its release at the beginning of the summer. Maybe I'm a sucker for the cheesy stuff, but this record speaks to me. It's a shining light in a pile of irony and sincerity. I can rely on this record for its earnestness, for its unpretentious alcohol, fire and sex—for its passion.
Celebration Rock unabashedly pulls me back into the mindset of my carefree high school self, with those oh yeahs on “Evil's Sway” carrying me into the centre of the pit. And when that pure-adrenaline passion comes in, there’s no way it’s simply nostalgia. Japandroids are simply carrying the torch, feeding the younger us for our own good, and with this record they may do it all the way to the mainstream.
At the end of 2012, what do we have to be celebrating? Still being able to feel this way, that youthful exuberance doesn’t fade out like old band t-shirts. We’re still here, and still kicking. And there’s power in that, regardless that it’s held together by gang vocals and a huge six-string sound.