Japandroids are a 2-piece from Vancouver -- Brian King on guitars and David Prowse on drums -- and they have just released their second full-length titled Celebration Rock, a follow up to their well-received 2009 album Post-Nothing. In between they released a series of singles as well as a compilation EP so it sort of seems like they've been coming out with new stuff all the time, all of it following the same formula that propelled them to rave reviews -- heavy guitars, swirling drums, screaming singing, and basic lyrics about youth and love and kicking all kinds of ass. Celebration Rock continues on this path, unabashed, with almost no difference between the tracks on this album and their earlier work. Some bands are tempted to expand or enhance or otherwise change their sound before a sophomore release but Japandroids didn't fall into that frequently disappointing trap, instead pushing forward and firing on all cylinders of the throwback guitars-and-drums sound that must be incredible live (I'm seeing them at the end of the month for the first time and I can't wait!). This is a collection of songs that celebrates being loud, being young, and rocking out, a spirited call to arms for music lovers that was strong enough to inspire me to switch up the quote in the banner of this blog with a line from a song on this album, after many many years of Sunset Rubdown's "Us Ones in Between."
"Younger Us" is in some ways the highlight of the CD even though it's nearly two years old -- it came out as a single way back in 2010 (b/w "Sex and Dying in High Society") but it's such a perfect song that it hasn't lost a thing. The story of two people reminiscing about a time in their lives without so much responsibility, filled with so much energy and hope and excitement... it reminds me of college or just after-college when waking up early wasn't a concern regardless of whether you actually had to or not and staying up late just to hang with your friends wasn't a call to arms, it just was life, and it's something I miss, and something this song so perfectly captures. I still remember that feeling of being in bed because it was 2 am but someone coming home and saying get the hell up and I'd say fuck it and drink with them instead.
Remember when we had them all on the run.
And the night we saw the midnight sun.
Remember saying things like "we'll sleep when we're dead."
And thinking this feeling would never end.
Remember that night you were already in bed, said fuck it, got up to drink with me instead.
Give me that naked new skin rush.
Give me younger us.
Give me that you and me to the grave trust
Give me younger us.
Give me my girls learning love wild and free
Give me younger us.
Give me my boys and I swimming through the street.
Give me that night you were already in bed, said fuck it, got up to drink with me instead.
Japandroids catalog features some excellent songs in addition to "Younger Us" -- "Young Hearts Spark Fire", "Heavenward Grand Prix", and "I Quit Girls", each of which are anthemic and beautiful. And this album adds a few more notches of brilliance -- namely the last two tracks of the collection, "The House That Heaven Built" and "Continuous Thunder", as well as opener "The Nights of Wine and Roses". While the middle tracks are all pretty great with their straightforward rock edge, these aforementioned songs add layers of beauty that hide pop hooks among all the raging guitars and are just so perfect for cranking in the car with the window down on a hot summer day. I've had about the shittiest year of my life because of a seemingly minor health problem that has left me in constant pain but on the good days -- and thank the indie gods that the good days are finally starting to come -- I can't wait to get outside and blast some music and this whole May it's been "The House That Heaven Built" and "Continuous Thunder" and all the rest of the wonder of Celebration Rock. I made it down to Philadelphia over the weekend, hanging out with my friends at several bars and walking around the city, something I hadn't been able to do with anyone since last fall, since before a surgery that has ruined my life. And driving home, way past 2 am and not feeling much pain and in theory way past the point someone my age "should" be out having fun, I cranked the fuck out of "Continuous Thunder" and it carried me all the way home.
Heart's terrain is never a prairie
But you weren't wary
You took my hand
Through the cold, pissing rain
Dressed to the nines, arm in arm with me tonight
Singing out loud yeah yeah yeah
Like continuous thunder
Check out Celebration Rock, releasing June 5 on Polyvinyl (today).
And see them at the Bowery with me on June 27th (if you can find tickets, they are sold out apparenlty). I will be the one with the bad foot avoiding the mosh pit but hopefully having fun again.