If Vancouver, B.C. duo Japandroids' debut Post-Nothing was a playful evasion of genre tags (post-punk? post-hardcore?), their sophomore album Celebration Rock is a loud and proud declaration: This is rock 'n' roll at its most sincerely triumphant.
Although only a duo—Brian King on guitar and vocals, and David Prowse on drums and vocals—Japandroids make a lot of noise (live, King runs his guitar through at least two guitarist's and one bassist's worth of amps). And they are totally, unabashedly earnest about the business of rocking out. Driven by busy rhythms and drum fills, dual vocal sing-alongs and big, sweeping guitar chords, their songs are straight-ahead rushes of feeling—it's optimistic, sure, but "Younger Us" is shaded by nostalgia and regret. And though the outstanding single "The House That Heaven Built" is a headlong charge—guitars cresting, hi-hats going double-time—its momentum is tinged with loss. "When they love you, and they will," King sings, "Tell 'em all, they'll love in my shadow." It's a love letter, a kiss-off and an unmistakable anthem all at once, and typical of Japandroids' combustive mix of emotions. But their real mission statement might be its next line: "If they try to slow you down, tell 'em all to go to hell." – Eric Grandy, Google Play
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