Japandroids “Celebration Rock”: Review

Vancouver duo release what could be this year’s summer album

Every summer there are a couple of albums that define the season for you – hell, summer antics can define your whole year. You’ll hear a summer anthem ten years later and be instantly transported to those days that you were a reckless miscreant, roaming the streets at night with your friends, drinking and blasting the soundtrack of your life.

You’ll hear a summer anthem and be instantly transported to those days that you were a reckless miscreant

Enter Japandroids‘ Celebration Rock, the second full-length album from Vancouver dude duo Brian King and David Prowse (no, not the guy who played Darth Vader). Put simply, Celebration Rock is this year’s summer album.

The intensity of the music matches the desperate lyrics, yawning primal themes of late nights, drinking, smoking, friendship and summer love. Sure, some have said that their lyrics are overly juvenile, but I submit that this banality seems tongue in cheek to me; their sheer earnestness as they ask, “remember when we had them all on the run?” reminds me of Bruce Springsteen. And the best lyric on the whole album, hands down is, “Remember that night you were already in bed, said ‘fuck it’ and got up to drink with me instead.” It’s clever, funny, and it shoots me straight back to my early 20s, when your bros were your life and you drank every night (“Give me that you and me to the grave trust!”).

Prowse has also cited Appetite for Destruction as a touch point for Celebration Rock, which makes a hell of a lot of sense when you think about it.

In addition to the collective inclusiveness of the half-youthful/half-adult-looking-back-on-youth lyrics, the music kicks you right in the pants. Punk-fueled energy, King’s guitars are fatter than Nell Carter and Prowse beats the shit out of the skins like they owe him money. They ‘yell like hell to the heavens’ with a ton of tight choruses and call and response vocals. Here are eight songs that burn white hot and die out fast, just like your fleeting youth. Supposedly, Celebration Rock was mostly recorded live off the floor, with few overdubs. A lot of records don’t sound this ‘live’.

And for the record, I saw them a couple of years back and their live show shoots you out into space.

King and Prowse aren’t really young summer men anymore, which adds another layer of depth. Sure, they’re waxing nostalgic, but they’re doing it in a way that doesn’t seem forced. They create anthems of youth, simply by remembering the shared youth most of us music pervs had. And to think we almost didn’t have Japandroids. The band had all but given up just before releasing their amazing debut album, Post-Nothing. Canada’s Unfamiliar Records pushed them to release it.

Thank fuck.

When it started getting attention, it thrust them into the spotlight, and they continued on as Japandroids, one of the best Canadian bands of the last five years.

By the way, if you have Post-Nothing and Celebration Rock and you still can’t get enough, you can pick up No Singles, which pairs the pre-Post-Nothing EPs, All Lies and Lullaby Death Jams. No Singles is right in the pocket with the two proper releases and helped me pass the time until Celebration Rock came out.

Your summer hasn’t started if you don’t have Celebration Rock. You won’t have a summer if you forgo this album. And when you get old, that’s one less memory you’ll be able to look back on and smile fiendishly about.


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