Music Feature

Album Review: Japandroids' "Celebration Rock"

by Ryan O'Connell
The Vancouver duo play in Philly on June 29th
japandroids-celebration-rock

Celebration Rock is not just the title of the new album by the Vancouver band, the Japandroids; it’s the perfect title for the new album by the Japandroids.

That is not a statement. That is a fact.

Listening to the album, all 8 songs and a shade over thirty minutes of it, could easily incite you to do at the least one of the following things: speed recklessly, spit out a window, run naked down a city street, flip a table over that is covered with half full Solo cups of beer, jump through a screen door, pump your fist while chugging Jack Daniels, run down a long dock and jump into the ocean, trample through a little kid’s sand castle, rip some donuts in your car in a dusty parking lot…

Free-spirits should be proud of the Japandroids- they have made an album that could be their soundtrack. Bass players however- they probably have lukewarm feelings about the band and that’s largely because the Japandroids are another band out there, kicking out the jams as a duo and suggesting, if not proving, that bass players aren’t required to rock properly. I love the bass and I love a good bass player, but the Japandroids get along just fine and bass players should just get over it. Hip hop has been demonstrating the expendability of drummers for over twenty years now. We’re living in the future and things are changing. Even the power trio doesn’t seem so minimalist anymore. We’ll just have to get used to it.

So the Japandroids are just two dudes from Canada; playing music so rough around the edges that they’d make a garage seem like a castle. It’s parking lot rock; it needs open spaces. Apparently the Japandroids have some pretty wild shows and audience participation is an integral part of it- the crowd provides backing vocals. When approaching the recording process of Celebration Rock, the band’s members, guitarist Brian King and drummer David Prowse, wondered how they could capture that rowdy and unifying spirit and enthusiasm the crowd provides in the monochrome vibe of the studio. The end result was a plethora of ooh’s and ahh’s in the spots where the crowd usually takes over and it’s wonderful; absolutely wonderful.

I wish more bands went for it the same way the Japandroids do. There are no concerns about speed limits for the Japandroids. As long as they have gas and the open road, they’re good.

The Japandroids play Johnny Brenda’s on June 29th with Cadence Weapon.

Celebration Rock is out now on Polyvinyl Record Company.

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