I wasn’t the biggest fan of this duo’s first album, Post Nothing, with it’s blurry lo-fi garage rock didn’t really do much for me, I understood why other people liked it. Now their sophomore effort, Celebration Rock, has Japandriods going for a slightly cleaner sound that still has all the energy of their debut intact and even goes beyond it at some points. The first half of the album has some good moments, but they all blend together into something that doesn’t push the group very far. “Fire’s Highway” sounds very forced with the backing vocals trying to pump up the energy comes out sounding very calculated.
But the second half of Celebration Rock goes straight for the throat with “Adrenaline Nightshift” sounding really close to a Tom Petty song. Japandroids reach their high point on “House That Heaven Built“. And “Continuous Thunder” has some great guitar sounds ringing in the front that makes the drum beat even more powerful, the song fails when the vocals kick in with some really whiny infections that leave a bad taste in my mouth.
While many things on Celebration Rock are quite youthful and it brings out plenty of teenage angst and lots of the same emotions song after song, and I might be alone here, but there’s not much they have to offer in the songwriting and the overall sound of the album with song after song giving a picture of emo and punk that aims for themes of moving on from where you were, in the search for something better and having fun while doing it. While there’s plenty of songs here that sound like they’d fit in a collage radio station, there’s not enough variety from song to keep things interesting from song to song.
Rating: 5.8 out of 10.