Japandroids | Celebration Rock

Polyvinyl (2012)
By REYAN ALI  |  May 8, 2012
3.5 3.5 Stars

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When I was a teenager who truly cared only for emotions-on-the-sleeve punk rock, I came up with the dumbest idea: if I ever reviewed records by breaking down individual categories (production, lyrics, whatever), I'd include a grade for "heart" or "passion." Since evaluating any given album on the basis of how much passion went into it is limiting and way too subjective, I ditched the concept. Please let me dust off my old meter to award Japandroids' Celebration Rock an easy four out of four in the heart department. Record number two from the Vancouver duo is an inspired, exhilarating spectacle that makes good on its gang vocals, feel-good (but not cheesy) lyrics, pleasantly muddy production, and galloping sense of self-confidence. Japandroids might be darlings of Pitchfork, a site that usually sees itself as above pop-punk, and their records are released by an indie-rock-heavy label, but Celebration Rock is the bouncing baby boy of keep-your-head-up punk bands like Latterman and Operation Ivy. Play this album backwards and you will encounter the subversive sounds of stage dives, sweaty hugs, and joyous high fives. Celebration Rock is celebration in its purest, friendliest form, and it's a beautiful thing.

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