Japandroids Celebration Rock It is hard to imagine Brian King and David Prowse being in a room together and not sounding like ten guys with heavy equipment making a lot of noise. But making good, and occasionally great, rock noise. And being unapologetically melodic and poetic about it to boot. But they beat me to that punch: this is Celebration Rock. This is about being unapologetic. This is about youth and fireworks and like the studied dissonance of the intro track “The Nights of Wine and Roses”, says, “Don’t we have anything to live for? / Well of course we do, but until it comes true / we’re drinking.”

But doesn’t that sound rather like a band straddling the line between adolescence and adulthood, between their first and second album, between living the dream or just merely dreaming their lives away?

Japandroids Celebration Rock

On “Fire’s Highway” Brian King croons, “A northern soul in southern lands/ will always find his way to southern hands.” which perhaps begins to speak to what the Japandroids duo have experienced in recent years with the unexpected success of their debut album Post-Nothing (Polyvinyl, 2009): the incessant touring, the searching for comfort in unknown territory, the desire to continue burning the wick at both ends while remaining unsure at to what comes next. He goes on to add, “So give away your gypsy fears / and turn your restless nights to restless years.” Your dreams are no longer unrealized. They are happening right now and how do you feel? To continue deeper into the labyrinth means to give up the old life and become a new person. To give up the quest means to live Groundhog’s Day as a fry cook at some greasy spoon and watch the girl of your dreams walk out time after time, never knowing how much you used to rock.

They bought the idea of the dream. From the press release, “Japandroids fought tirelessly against their own creative limitations, struggling to expand their sound beyond the simple sloganeering that dominated Post-Nothing.” Sure, there were issues. There was supposed to be a lead singer. They were supposed to be friends. There was supposed to be success, money, the trappings of rock glory. Overland travel is a grueling experience, and add touring and pouring your young musical hearts out every night in yet another nameless college town to that, and it changes into that four letter word we don’t like to talk about in association with our dreams: work. Because you can only play your current discography of twenty-two songs for so long (especially if they add up to just over an hour), before they are grumbling for more. They—the audience, the unseen and insatiable internet hordes, the record industry insiders—they always want more. So on top of making a name for yourself as one of the most explosive live bands playing, you have to write more songs—good songs—in order to sustain the dream. Luckily, that’s what happened.

The question as to why music is so much better loud and in the dark can only be answered individually, yet the fact remains that while the night is the realm of sleepy-time dreams for most, for some it is when they are most awake. Click To Tweet
Japandroids Celebration Rock

Japandroids Jam Space Panorama

Despite a few unsure moments (If a rough theme of the album is travel and driving, then the fourth track, “For the Love of Ivy”, seems to be a tenuous diversion down a back country road that dead-ends at one of those swamps for which the south is famous), there is very little fodder on the eight song, 35 minute tribute to life. For indeed the motif of the album resides in that cliché of carpe diem (or more aptly carpe noctem), citing relentless references to Fire, the Night, Hell and Heaven, Thunder, and not above all, as they so eloquently put it on “Adrenaline Nightshift”, “…“waiting for the generation’s bonfire to begin”. But what does the chorus, sung, like most of their call-and-response-y choruses, in rousing duet, mean, “There’s no high like this / Adrenaline Nightshift”? The question as to why music is so much better loud and in the dark can only be answered individually, yet the fact remains that while the night is the realm of sleepy-time dreams for most, for some it is when they are most awake.

The wistfulness of “Younger Us”, at 3:33, which wins the race for the shortest track on the album (the other seven all hovering somewhere in the 4:20 range), hearkens back to Post-Nothing as much as “The House That Heaven Built” is forward-looking and full of optimistic naïvete. Yet it is the album’s final track, “Continuous Thunder” that displays the full lyrical maturity of the young two-piece that sounds like a five-piece. Understanding that it is the “simple sloganeering”, the driving beats of the almost militaristic drumming, and the droning background guitar that people want, that they hear in their heads when they aren’t listening to this on their mp3 players walking to the subway, and asking, “O and if I / had all of the answers and you had the body you wanted / would we love with the legendary fire? / And if the cold, pissing rain flooded that fire / would you still take my hand tonight? / Singing out loud yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah, like continuous thunder./”, might just be the reason that Celebration Rock penetrates our ears like a perfect display of fireworks reflects in our eyes, fading out to in a fragmentary blur of light to soak in to our corneas, leaving the dark illuminated only with our own dreams of thunder to live for.

Japandroids 2012 Tour Dates

Japandroids Celebration Rock

  • Jun 22, 2012 – Grog Shop, Cleveland Heights, OH (with Cadence Weapon)
  • Jun 23, 2012 – Lee’s Palace, Toronto, Canada (with Cadence Weapon)
  • Jun 25, 2012 – La Sala Rossa, Montreal, Canada (with Cadence Weapon)
  • Jun 26, 2012 – Brighton Music Hall, Allston, MA (with Cadence Weapon)
  • Jun 27, 2012 – Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY (with Cadence Weapon)
  • Jun 28, 2012 – Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY (with Cadence Weapon)
  • Jun 29, 2012 – Johnny Brenda’s, Philadelphia, PA (with Cadence Weapon)
  • Jun 30, 2012 – Rock & Roll Hotel, Washington, DC (with Cadence Weapon)
  • Jul 3, 2012 – 7th Street Entry, Minneapolis, MN (with Cadence Weapon)
  • Jul 7, 2012 – Biltmore Cabaret, Vancouver, Canada (with Previous Tenants)
  • Jul 12, 2012 – Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL (with Ty Segall)
  • Jul 13, 2012 – Union Park (Pitchfork Music Festival), Chicago, IL
  • Jul 29, 2012 – Fuji Rock Festival, Niigata, Japan
  • Aug 12, 2012 – Treibhaus Luzern, Lucerne, Switzerland
  • Aug 14, 2012 – Parades de Coura Festival, Ponte do Lima , Portugal
  • Aug 16, 2012 – Workman’s Club, Dublin, Ireland
  • Aug 17, 2012 – Mandela Hall, Belfast, United Kingdom
  • Aug 18, 2012 – Funkirk Estate (Beacons Festival), Skipton, United Kingdom
  • Aug 19, 2012 – Summer Sundae Weekender, Leicester, United Kingdom
  • Aug 22, 2012 – Gamli Gaukurinn, Reykjavik, Iceland
  • Aug 22, 2012 – Gamli Gaukurinn, Reykjavik, Iceland
  • Aug 24, 2012 – BootBooHook Festival, Hannover, Germany
  • Aug 25, 2012 – Obstwiesenfestival, Dornstadt, Germany
  • Aug 27, 2012 – Zoom, Frankfurt, Germany
  • Aug 28, 2012 – Beatpol, Dresden, Germany
  • Aug 29, 2012 – Magnet Club, Berlin, Germany
  • Aug 31, 2012 – Pod Minoga, Poznan, Poland
  • Sep 1, 2012 – Hydrozagadka, Warsaw, Poland
  • Sep 3, 2012 – Akvarium, Budapest, Hungary
  • Sep 4, 2012 – Chelsea, Vienna, Austria
  • Sep 6, 2012 – Kino Siska, Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Sep 7, 2012 – Postgarage, Graz, Austria
  • Sep 8, 2012 – NKC Park, Zagreb, Croatia
  • Sep 10, 2012 – Lucerna Music Bar, Prague, Czech Republic
  • Sep 11, 2012 – Feierwerk, Munich, Germany
  • Sep 12, 2012 – Treibhaus Luzern, Lucerne, Switzerland
  • Sep 14, 2012 – La Chocolaterie, City of Brussels, Belgium
  • Sep 15, 2012 – Leffingeleuren Festival, Leffinge, Belgium
  • Sep 16, 2012 – Incubate Festival, Tilburg, Netherlands
  • Sep 18, 2012 – Paradiso, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Sep 19, 2012 – Rotown, Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Sep 21, 2012 – Reeperbahn Festival, Hamburg, Germany
  • Sep 22, 2012 – Gleis 22, Munster, Germany
  • Sep 23, 2012 – Luxor, Cologne, Germany
  • Sep 25, 2012 – Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Sep 26, 2012 – Voxhall, Arhus, Denmark
  • Sep 28, 2012 – Pustervik, Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Sep 29, 2012 – Strand, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Sep 30, 2012 – John Dee, Oslo, Norway
  • Nov 1, 2012 – Grande Halle de la Villette (Pitchfork Music Festival), Paris, France

Available on 180-gram vinyl with 20-page lyric and photo booklet.