As the press materials for the fantastic new (and aptly titled) Celebration Rock note, the band was unable to write much in between tours, so it settled for a few singles in 2010. When the time came to write Celebration Rock in late 2011, Brian King and David Prowse struggled. For a pair of guys who regularly admit their limitations as songwriters, it was incredibly difficult to expand beyond the “simple sloganeering” of Post-Nothing. Prowse and King eventually relocated to Nashville to write the album over the course of six weeks before returning to Vancouver to record with Jesse Gander at the Hive, the same producer and studio behind Post-Nothing.

Even though Japandroids’ future has always been uncertain, Celebration Rock never seems to doubt its raison d’être. Maybe it’s because the songs were so hard won after that long dry spell that they sound especially lively, but Celebration Rock starts strong and stays there over the course of its eight songs and 35 minutes. The fantastic first single, “The House That Heaven Built,” serves as an apt introduction to the album: propulsive, supremely catchy, and punctuated by sing-along “oh oh ohs” and a killer chorus, “When they love you (and they will) / tell ’em all they’ll love in my shadow / and if they try to slow you down (slow you down) / tell ’em all to go to hell.” “The House That Heaven Built” provides a climactic finish that settles into the more subdued closer, “Continuous Thunder,” which ruminates on the duo’s favorite subject, romantic entanglement: “If I had all of the answers / and you had the body you wanted / would we love with a legendary fire?”

The question of King and Prowse making it to a third album, much less “to the grave,” remains open even now, but Celebration Rock finds that some of the best moments in life can come from uncertainty. You just have to be open to them, even if you’re already in bed.The A.V. Club


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