Monday 17 September 2012

POLARiS ’12: Japandroids, Celebration Rock

QBiM RE-SPiNS the 10 Short Listed albums for the Polaris Music Prize 2012

For the last few weeks,Japandroids Celebration Rock has been soundtracking my workouts at the gym, so I’ve spent a fair bit of time lately considering the album as part of the Polaris short list for 2012, and as one of the year’s most highly anticipated releases.  Walking the track to the rolling, ridiculously terrific “Continuous Thunder” the other day, I started to get this nagging guilty feeling about the review I wrote about the album back in May of this year, feeling that maybe I had been too harsh in my critique (which is something I often do here).   Honestly, I hadn’t really gone back and read what I wrote since I wrote it, so the guilt was only based on what I thought I said; now that I’ve re-read my musings, I’m not feeling quite so guilty.

Celebration Rock is such an aptly named record.  It’s about that first humid summer evening when the the possibility month-long adventures hums in the night alongside the cicadas; it’s about friendships that are built to last forever or until Labour Day, whichever comes first; it’s about the last kick at youthful rebellion and irresponsibility, before the onset of chronic adulthood claims your soul forever.  Each song is a perfectly choreographed microcosm of the record as a whole.  They’re delicious sound bites, perfectly rendered by singer/guitarist Brian King and drummer David Prowse’s razor sharp playing.  Where Post-Nothing seemed like a sonic onslaught on sound, Celebration Rock has moments of crystal clear attack and a sense of purpose and planning (like the “casual” nod to Tom Petty in “Evil’s Sway” that makes me smile every time I hear it).

Back in May I likened the record to a greatest hits compilation, where each song can easily stand on its own merits, and I stand behind that opinion today.  My criticism then was that, even in its brevity, Celebration Rock bleeds together as a whole, blurring any real distinguishing lines between songs.  Again, I’ll stand behind that observation, but that might not be a wholly bad thing.  We are talking about the best Canadian record, right?  In that sense, Celebration Rock deserves to be counted among the best albums of the year.  It takes some time, but “Adrenaline Nightshift” will stand apart from “Fire’s Highway” just as much as “Younger Us” does from “The House That Heaven Built”.  It will take considerably less time to realize that celebration Rock truly stand apart from the rest of the year’s record releases, in that it truly is a record, a statement, a manifesto even.

Let the continuous thunder of Japandroids roll on for years to come.  Stay young forever, boys.


CBC Music: Japandroids
Facebook: Japandroids

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