on 20 June 2012
Celebration Rock Japandroids sophomore album was easily near the top of my list, for albums i was eagerly anticipating this year and if you've heard their previous record (Post Nothing) i probably don't need to tell you why. For the benefit of the review i will though;) Their 2009 debut was the most potent display of nostalgia fuelled, desperately chaotic Alt Rock i'd heard in a long time. It was emotional with a capital E and even if you thought the musicanship was lacking in sophistication or the lyrical simplicity was bordering on juvenile at times, you'd be hard pressed to deny the integrity of the sentiment. These guys played too gosh darn loud for their sincerity to be brought into question and to these ears the "amateurish" borderline hormonal rock songs felt extremely visceral and truely special.
Celebration Rock follows the formula that made Post Nothing so coruscatingly endearing with the band playing with that same corporeal intensity. David prowse explosively drums right after the openening fireworks on "The Night of Wine and Roses" and right up until the closing one's on "Continuous Thunder". Brian King brings his pummelling power chords and frenzied vocals to the fray again also, creating that same glorious cacophany that won so many people over on their debut. The only noticable progression on CR is perhaps in the lyrics department, the scope of PN didn't really extend beyond a fear of getting old and although CR mainly stays within this territory their perspective feels even more forthright this time round "Long lit up tonight And still drinking Don't we have anything to live for? Well of course we do" are the first lines that Brian King sings and this album is full of similar lines of affirmation and reverie.
"Younger Us" and "The House That Heaven Built" have rightly been crowned as Celebration Rocks most transcendantal moments the energy on "Younger Us" is at fever pitch with Prowse somehow drumming with even more ferocity than on previous tracks and King busting a gut singing with the emotion bleeding out of his distorted guitar chords. "THTHB" is played with similar force but it's the caustic lyrical refrain in the chorus that really makes you take notice "When they love you, and they will. Tell em all theyll love in my shadow And if they try to slow you down, Tell em all to go to hell" rarely do japandroids songs come with such a potent dose of venom.
The only negative thing i can say about this album is that it's lack of progression sonically, made it feel a little predictable at times. whereas Post Nothing seemed to come out of nowhere when it was released this album failed to flaw me in that same unexpected way, I would've loved to have seen the band experiment a little more this time round, thrown in a few unexpected curveballs (other than just a very enjoyable Gun Club Cover). Perhaps if they'd toned down some of the noisier moments they might have forced themselves to find an extra dimension to their music.
The formula of 35 minutes playing time, split into eight tracks, with minimal overdubbing and the black on white album cover have given this band an undeniably distinctive aesthetic. But they've also slightly pigeonholed themselves as that euphoria driven, recklessly loud, garage rock duo and that's unfortunate because they're too good to be caricaturely reduced into that in my opinion. My criticism should be taken in context though, CR's lack of originality stops it from being an absolute masterwork but it's still a very good album that anybody with only the slightest interest in indie rock should deifinitely check out!
on 11 January 2013
The album opens and closes with firework effects and in between you get....yes, you guessed it, musical fireworks.
A big improvement on their debut album "post nothing" which although very powerful was let down by poor vocals and a lack of memorable tunes. On this follow up the cacophony is still in place but the vocals are much improved and they've got the hang of putting some melody beneath the noise.
It reminded me a lot of a (very) punkier Gaslight Anthem especially on "fire's highway" & "the house that heaven built" and at other times reminiscent of many of the bands on the SST label.