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Live for the moment. Seize the brass ring. No tomorrows. Less is more. All killer, no filler. Clichés all, but each in its own way, not a bad summation of the raison d'être of Japandroids, the Vancouver duo of David Prowse and Brian King, whose early 2009 blog spark generated by the flailing, exhilarating Post-Nothing turned into a fire that raged over 200 live shows in more than 20 countries for a year and a half. (And also included a memorable, blistering Noisemakers on Noisevox performance)
Road dogs through and through who seemed to never tire of the never-ending tour, King and Prowse padded their new music output in 2010 with a series of 7-inches (including the outstanding "Younger Us", maybe their greatest song to date) and No Singles, a compilation of their early EP's from 2006-2008. But a second album? The guys never really gave it a thought until 2010 wound down, and the reality of the "follow-up" was staring them in the face. It was a new place for them, and as King, not a "natural songwriter" told Noisevox in a Face Time interview that you will see in a couple of weeks, generating new songs on some sort of timetable was "one of the hardest things I've ever had to do".
Fortunately, they more than rose to the occasion, first writing on their BC home turf, then for a needed change of scenery, decamping to Nashville, where the songs flowed even more freely. And the good news is that the result, Celebration Rock, is an even more thrilling ride than its predecessor. Taking a cue from the anthemic first album standout "Young Hearts Spark Fire", the new record is even more full of pedal-to-the-metal "whoa whoa" singalongs. Damned if "Fire's Highway", "The House That Heaven Built" and "Adrenaline Nightshift" don't make everyone feel 19 again.
It's not a long record -- 35 minutes, 8 tracks -- almost identical in length to Post-Nothing -- but as King has addressed in multiple interviews recently, and in his cleverly-written new band bio, rock history is full of similarly "hit it and quit it" releases, among them: Pet Sounds, Revolver, and Led Zeppelin IV. Not bad company.
And not a bad reception that Japandroids have been getting. This album currently stands at a whopping 86 on Metacritic, a score bested in 2012 by only twenty or so albums, including reissues of classics by Archers of Loaf, Paul McCartney, The Doors, and My Bloody Valentine. Again, not bad company.
And for good reason. See what all the fuss is about, and get ready for the rush that is the second album from Japandroids, unapologetically and unironically called Celebration Rock.