I was tempted to write off Japandroids as just one more lo-fi punk band who've overdosed on fuzz. I found them entertaining, but tough to distinguish from a sea of similar acts. If I had heard No Age's Nouns with Post-Nothing's opener, "The Boys Are Leaving Town," inserted as track seven, I doubt I would have batted an eye, though Japandroids are more adept at fist-pumping, foot-stomping rabble rousing. But after further listening, I decided that Japandroids don't share all that much with their alleged peers.
For starters, they seem like more-accomplished musicians. I'm no Berklee grad or anything, but I'm pretty sure I heard seventh chords in "Rockers East Vancouver." Beyond that, the way Brian King and David Prowse strain their nasally little voices at the top of their lungs and shoot for anthemic chant-along choruses recalls '90s indie pop more than anything — think a really repetitive Superchunk.
"Young Hearts Spark Fire" showcases their gleeful exuberance, but even on more subdued numbers like "Sovereignty," they still sound like two kids who don't yet know their own strength.