Japandroids' sophomore LP 'Celebration Rock' starts the way it finishes: with the sound of fireworks. As the title suggests, this album is a celebration -- of youth, energy and aimless defiance that often evokes a sense of pensive longing for either the future or the past, depending on your age.
Opener 'The Night of Wine and Roses' establishes what you can expect from the subsequent seven songs: exuberant summer anthems consisting of big major guitar chords mixed with David Prowse's punk rock drumming and inspirational woah-oh-oh choruses likely to get some confused, fragile late-teens 'through some hard times'.
Cynicism aside, it's hard not to respond to the consistent energy that the duo expel, best represented in Brian King's raspy, heartfelt vocals which help to offset the occasional clichéd lyrics and formulaic song structures. Most of the tracks are catchy and enjoyable, especially 'Adrenaline Nightshift' and the excellent 'The House That Heaven Built.'
However, even with a relatively lean eight tracks, one of which being a competent but superfluous cover of The Gun Club's 'For the Love of Ivy', it still feels like some of the material could have been cut due to an almost total lack of diversity throughout. Every song is roughly the same length, deals with the same slightly juvenile lyrical themes, and even has the same guitar tone. It's all pretty uniform, and often sounds kind of like Jimmy Eat World meets Arcade Fire but not quite as good as either of them. But overall, 'Celebration Rock' is solid and likeable, if not particularly original. It's possible that you'll remember this album for years to come. It's also possible that you'll have forgotten about it in a couple of months. 6/10
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