Celebration Rock (180g) (White) (Vinyl)
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Vinyl LP pressing. This is the long-awaited, follow up to 2009's Post-Nothing. Celebration Rock is well balanced with a much bigger sound and showcases the band's growth as songwriters. Songs like "Evil's Sway" and "The House That Heaven Built" prove that the Vancouver duo has more than staying power with this sophomore release.
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These tracks are life-affirming, and they feel together like a love-letter for the bygone 20-something ages. Accordingly, this album is propulsive, full of energy and glee, evoking memories of super-early mornings, slightly-buzzed conversations, and fist-pumping celebrations. CELEBRATION ROCK doesn't wear out its welcome, clocking in at a little over half an hour playing time; it's short and sweet.
The album begins with the popping of distant fireworks which then melt into the band's percussion. This introductory track, "The Night of Wine and Roses," showcases fantastic hooks and noise-rock-propulsive rhythms that continue well until the closer, "Continuous Thunder." "Evil's Sway" showcases a nice guitar riff before launching into one of the album's best songs. "For the Love of Ivy" features tinges of rockabilly vibes. "Younger Us" is a love-letter to bygone days of late-night friendships. "The House That Heaven Built" is the lead single from the album, and for good reason: it's a seriously strong melody that will keep with listeners after the song is over. "Continuous Thunder" is a bit different from the rest of the tracks -- it's not as immediate or percussive. The song is different from the rest of the album -- it's more midtempo and patient, but the contrast works to wonderful effect. The final moments of the song gradually give way to the same popping of distant fireworks that started the album. It's a beautiful way to end CELEBRATION ROCK.
Fans of the Gaslight Anthem, the Hold Steady, the Replacements, or F***ed Up will probably really love CELEBRATION ROCK. Standout tracks to sample: "The Nights of Wine and Roses," "Continuous Thunder," "The House That Heaven Built," and "Evil's Sway." For previous listeners of Japandroids, you will know exactly what you've getting with this album. For newcomers, this album proves to be a great place to start; this album is just as good as their first full-length album.
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!
You will not have a better time this year being pummeled than you will with album opener `The Nights of Wine and Roses'. With Mission of Burma's angst and relevance, Built to Spill's earnestness and The Replacement's drunken glee, Japandroids deliver lines like "Long lit up tonight and still drinking/Don't we have anything to live for/Well of course we do/But until it comes true/We're still drinking" with the furvor and the insight of true drunken night owls the Vancouver duo are, or were. You'll be hard pressed to find a heavier and louder statement this year of living for the moment than you'll find on this excellent opening track. `Fire's Highway' comes right in with arms flailing. Brian King sings "A northern soul in southern lands, will always find his way to southern hands" and you can't help but think this `northern soul' is broadening his scape as a songwriter to more than just getting drunk and closing clubs. `Evil's Sway' is another barnstormer that pits good against evil, which seems to be a theme throughout this record. Side A closes out with a rush of adrenaline as Japandroids burn through a cover of The Gun Club's `For The Love Of Ivy'. Side B opens with the galloping `Adrenaline Nightshift', four and a half minutes of ear-splitting guitar and drum-pummeling fills. With the highlights `Younger Us' and the excellent `The House That Heaven Built' leading up to the beautiful closer `Continuous Thunder', King and Prowse have taken us on a journey through the sweaty, fevered nights and the harsh, battered mornings of lost souls looking for meaning in what at times seems utterly meaningless.
Japandroids have given us their mission statement. Written in blood, sweat and cheap booze by two lost souls that may not be as lost as they once were, it reads simply, `Celebration Rock'. Get your hands on this album and celebrate.
As to what to call this band's music, the title sums it up nicely. They manage to sound at times like this excellent high school band that hasn't quite slicked down their sound just yet, but is musically savvy enough to recognize a great power chord progression and put it to good use. While far removed in instrumentation, they come from the same space as other alt-power rock bands , including of all things mid-80's stadium rock bands like Cheap Trick. They even have a kinda-rockabilly track with a Dick Dale glissando.
Both of their full albums are well worth owning. They manage to evoke great rock and roll and still sound fresh.