Top 5: Japandroids
National Music Reviews
Japandroids = Cloud Nothings + Titus Andronicus
The album starts off with fireworks, which are, while corny, perfectly representative of what’s to come. Celebration Rock is the musical equivalent of getting shitfaced with your friends and talking about past successes or ex-girlfriends, ending the night with drunken optimism about the future. Somewhere between post-rock and pop-punk, they are never trying too hard to be cool—it all seems genuine. There have been some improvements since Post-Nothing (which was still an incredible album): Everything is slightly clearer and more prominent, a bit less jumbled. With eight songs in 35 minutes, Celebration Rock is probably closer to an EP than an album, but all 35 minutes are perfect, and there is no filler. Amid the eight songs is a cover of Gun Club’s “For The Love of Ivy,” which is noticeably different than the rest of the album. “For The Love of Ivy” is more aggressive and angrier than any other song on this album—it reminds me a bit of “Heart Sweats” from their last album. Both songs feel out of place, but not in a bad way, almost like a welcome break from the optimism, and when you return to the happiness and nostalgia, it is comforting. Japandroids are the perfect two-piece: dense and sparse simultaneously. The album closes with “Continuous Thunder,” which slows the pace for the only time on the release, offering feelings of angst while remaining hopeful, and it leaves you slightly less excited than the preceding songs. Though it ends on a more sorrowful note, it is still hopeful—like the majority of the album, it is hopefully romantic.