Japandroids - Celebration Rock | Album Review | By Volume

Understand that I am only as he made me: a faithful servant to all of the noise, all of the lights, all of the flashing in my head. Laura Stevenson - Wheel
Japandroids - Celebration Rock


Celebration Rock

Thunder this continuous doesn’t come easy.

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Author: on May 17, 2012
June 5, 2012

The way Japandroids’ Post-Nothing hooked itself on was incredible to behold. Nostalgia is played for a sucker in the weakest corners of every genre, but here was a band evoking the realest form of that often-abused mental space. Post-Nothing was a bizarre form of summer album, drenched in proclamations about running off to France and falling for girls with wet hair at the same time as it drowned in its own reverb and volume. It found its heart where that musical recklessness crashed into the thematic innocence, bolstered by the element of surprise.

By 2012, we have a notion of who Japandroids are, and the impact they’re supposed to have. The lead single from Celebration Rock, “The House That Heaven Built,” suggested that not much had changed, but first impressions are a strange beast when we’re dealing with this brand of abandon. It’s strange to consider at length an album this pointedly instinct-driven – cue jeers of “dude, shut up and just rock out!” – but the thing is that if you love this garage-rock schtick as much as you should, you’re going to want to play Celebration Rock over and over again. And here’s, apparently, the point: you don’t get a choice. Japandroids are a vehicle without brakes.

Damn, there are some incredible songs here. “Fire’s Highway” (epic title alert) opens with a yell which gets the blood flowing: “A northern soul in southern lands / will always find his way to southern hands / so kiss away your gypsy fears / and turn some restless nights to restless years!” There’s no way that lyric doesn’t close with an exclamation point – Japandroids certainly have a punctuation mark of choice – and the record just blazes off, hook-laden and loud, down said highway from that point on, only pausing to fill up the tank and take in its surroundings as it hits a wall on closing track “Continuous Thunder.”

For some reason, that feels like a relief (as well as a superb final cut). Maybe Celebration Rock‘s status as Volume 2 of these heartfelt anthems will draw criticism from some corners, but it shouldn’t. All the furious guitars and gang vocals here don’t pile up on one another so much as come one after the other. The album closes with the same burst of fireworks it began with, and you get the feeling Japandroids’ fuse has a while left to go yet. I guess that’s the nature of such straightforward-rock-music: it’s a series of moments competing simultaneously with the last moment and the next moment, and it’s fucking exciting.

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