Formed in 2006, Japandroids is a Canadian garage rock duo consisting of Brian King (guitar, vocals) and David Prowse (drums, vocals). Japandroids was on the verge of disbandment after several releases and minimal success. However, the band released their full-length debut album Post-Nothing in 2009 on Unfamiliar Records. Although relatively unknown at the release of their debut, Japandroids received a boost thanks to Pitchfork’s praise of their song “Young Hearts Spark Fire” deeming them “Best New Music”. The band had a heavy touring schedule throughout 2009-2010. They took a break off touring during most of 2011 in order to record material for a new album. The group’s second album Celebration Rock, led by single “The House That Heaven Built”, released on June 5, 2012.
There’s something about growing old and settling down that Canadian noise rock duo Japandroids find positively unsettling. On their debut album Post-Nothing, the band celebrated youth with a reckless sense of wonder, throwing waves of distorted guitar and full-throated sing-alongs beneath candid lyrics about French girls and drinking.
Formed in 2006 by guitarist Brian King and drummer David Prowse, the group has played extensively all over the world to audiences eager to sweat, mosh, and yell at the top of their lungs. Six years later and Celebration Rock, the band’s newest release, brings the same Fugazi-like DIY punk energy to the table but with a dash of sentimentality.
Album opener “The Nights of Wine and Roses” is the perfect introduction to Japandroids. The song leads off with the faint crackling of fireworks in the distance and a muted guitar riff. After about a minute, the mix erupts into a full-bodied fuzz rock anthem and the duo yell with a drunken swagger, “Don't we have anything to live for? / Well, of course we do, but until it comes true / We're drinking.”
Both King and Prowse share a smooth vocal style that slides warmly over the gritty production, allowing the band to seamlessly transition from pop punk inspired choruses to the oh yeah screams and howls of darker and heavier tracks like “For The Love Of Ivy” and “Adrenaline Nightshift.”
But Japandroids don’t just celebrate the here and now. The rollicking and nostalgic “Younger Us” is the musical equivalent of meeting-up with old friends and joyously reminiscing about old parties and wild nights (“Gimme that night when you were already in bed / said fuck it and got up to drink with me instead / Gimme younger us”).
Celebration Rock isn’t a diverse album musically — the tempo, the lyrics, and the guitar effects are similar throughout — but it doesn’t need to be. Full throttle is the only way Japandroids know how to approach music or, it seems, life. When they sing, “If they try to slow you down / tell ‘em all to go to hell” on album highlight “The House That Heaven Built,” it’s obvious that King and Prowse are giving advice and serving a warning to listeners — they’re not going to slow down, no matter what anyone says.
It’s why Celebration Rock not only starts with fireworks but ends with them — this is grand finale music that doesn’t quit: explosive, loud, and awe-inspiring. We might all grow old, but we don’t all have to admit it. Japandroids certainly don’t.