Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Celebration Rock
Polyvinyl [2012]

I’m trying to get a feel for the average Japandroids fan, because honestly, I don’t know many. I assume that in this time of tenuous hipster boundaries, casual music fans may be wary of their name and minimalist album covers, I know I was at first. All I’ve really come away with is this: If you are a woman and you have a serious boyfriend who likes Japandroids, marry him. Sure, he might be a little too optimistic for his own good, and there’s an even better chance that he’s an alcoholic; but deep down he’s probably a great guy, and at least he smiles in pictures. Alright, let’s get serious, we all know girls don’t read music blogs anyway. Japandroids, Vancouver B.C.’s posi-rock Batman and Robin, have been one of my favorite current bands since I picked up 2009’s Post Nothing on a whim. Their exuberant songwriting, Replacements-tinged guitar tone, and penchant for yelling is some of the most infectious stuff around. Celebration Rock builds on a foundation which has somehow remained equal parts veteran and novice allowing them to grow without losing touch. “The Nights of Wine and Roses”, “Fire’s Highway”, and (the previously released) “Younger Us” may not break new ground, but should satiate the desires of the drunk sing-a-long crowd. “For the Love of Ivy” is a competent and enjoyable Gun Club cover (they also covered X’s “Sex and Dying in High Society” on the “Younger Us” 7”), and personally I appreciate any band who shows respect for LA punk. I’d like to put in a request for some Geza X or Rik L. Rik, and I’m sure they’d kill “Trouble at the Cup”. Closer “Continuous Thunder” doesn’t do much for me, their pattern of closing with a slow song reads a little stale, but is forgivable. As for the best tracks on Celebration Rock: “Adrenaline Nightshift” is jaunty, progressive, and fantastically titled, “Evil’s Sway” succeeds as a jangly mutation on past work, and “The House that Heaven Built” is easily the best song they’ve written since the first three tracks on the No Singles collection, my personal benchmark for JDs greatness. Perhaps I’m biased due to my weakness for Canadians, yelling, and bands who try to fit at least one “woah-oh” into every song, but here’s hoping that Japandroids’ brand of unadulterated optimism and (at least apparent) good guy-ness continues to attract new fans… and that you invite me to the wedding.  

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