By Clinton Hallahan, Contributor
Bookended by fireworks, Celebration Rock (released worldwide June 5) by Vancouver punk rockers Japandroids has done away with all that pesky “breathing” and “pausing” that colours basic human function in lieu of some serious velocity. That was their hallmark on their breakout LP, Post-Nothing, but fans of that record will find more “Wet Hair” than “Crazy Forever” on this one, their most recent minor triumph.
Japandroids have always prayed to the Mecca of Big Sexy Hooks, and have an uncanny ability to bury those hooks deep in your brain. But Celebration Rock becomes oddly empty in that pursuit. The same techniques are there—the immaculate riffs, the vocal cues primed for Facebook, and, again, that unbridled velocity perfect for field parties and road trips—but the album is a Tuesday party; a gathering with no goal but celebrating celebration. It’s fun, and maybe even awesome, but fleeting and hedonistic.
Hip hop has “hashtag rap,” a jokey kind of call-and-response that breaks flow for punch lines, so maybe this is the logical analog in rock music: worship for the almighty good time and little ambition for anything else. Maybe that’s where the kids are these days.