Best Albums of 2012 #3 – Japandroids – Celebration Rock

We’re down to the final three albums of the year and I’m going to be cranking those out today, tomorrow and Wednesday. Was going to put up #3 on Friday, but circumstances didn’t allow for that to happen. It might seem trivial coming from a music blogger, but my heart goes out to the families of those affected by the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. It has weighed heavy on my heart and mind for three days and I felt that I needed to say how awful all of us feel that this sort of evil is alive in our time. Perhaps, someday we’ll be able to rid ourselves of it.

#3 – Japandroids – Celebration Rock

There was a sense before this album was released that Japandroids were going to walk away. They were going to finish this album and that’d be that. The first album, while very good, simply didn’t garner enough attention and they weren’t able to do some of the things they wanted to do as a band because of it. Then Celebration Rock came out and everything changed. With punk rock anthems that brought back from a scene that was, if not dead, then clearly on life support. Punk rock hadn’t been relevant since the mid ‘90’s and there weren’t many people out there clamoring for its return.

Japandroids made it relevant again. When I reviewed this album in may I said:

Post-Nothing was a phenomenal album that Pitchfork awarded the Best New Album designation to in 2009, but it was raw, frantic, full of energy and crazy. This album is still frantic, still full of energy, but it’s less crazy and more like a controlled atmosphere. It’s brilliant in its conception. The whole idea is to capture the essence of the live show within the confines of an eight song album. Most bands couldn’t do it. They’d wilt under the pressure; they’d sound too rehearsed, too trite.

Japandroids, however, know what you want. Like a Siren on Anthemusa, Japandroids lure you in with their song and once they have you in their grasp they ruin every conception you’ve ever had about what an album is supposed to sound like. They turn you inside out with the glorious sounds of distortion. They get your blood flowing with songs like “Adrenaline Nightshift” and you expect this to be the pace so you start to get ready to do some crowd surfing, jump into a pit, and drink some beers. Then you get to “Fire’s Highway” and they slow it down a bit and you wonder what’s going on until that bass drum starts to kick and there you go again with your head nodding to the beat. Eight songs of sublime guitar driven angst and fun that once and for all make us “kiss away our gypsy fears”.

When I saw them live with my bro-lo at the Fillmore it was, to quote Brian King, “a disasterpiece.” Crazy energy, bodies flying into each other, animals screaming, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria. I like what Japandroids sound like, I like what they stand for. They’re a workingman’s band. A couple of Canadian guys that want to drink too much, play too loud and have a great fucking time in the process. Isn’t that what music is supposed to be about?

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