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The rock band Japandroids has just two members, not from Tokyo, but Vancouver, British Columbia. Their second full-length record is out now. It's called "Celebration Rock" and our critic Will Hermes thinks it's the best rock record he's heard this year.


WILL HERMES, BYLINE: The guitars crush and the drums are breathtaking, but with Japandroids, the screaming is what seals the deal for me. There's a true art to it: rage, vulnerability, desperation and a tiny touch of truthfulness. It's so central to their sound that, while writing the album, the band imagined themselves as fans shouting along in the audience. It sounds like it.


HERMES: Japandroids are punk minimalists, but they're also classic rockers. I hear Pete Townsend and Keith Moon of The Who in their guitar and drum attack, and their lyrics, which get pushed up front on this new record, conjure familiar archetypes, Springsteen's restless "Hood Rats," The Replacements' wasted post-adolescence and The Hold Steady's record-collecting romantics, people whose lives are shaped by the music they love.

The song "Evil's Sway" recalls Tom Petty's "American Girl" after a couple of Red Bulls and expresses rock's most venerable theme, otherwise inarticulate horniness.


JAPANDROIDS: (Singing) Oh, yeah. All right. (Unintelligible) tonight. Oh, yeah. All right. (Unintelligible) tonight.

HERMES: And on "Adrenaline Nightshift," the band demonstrates how punk rock can still jolt a numbed out person into consciousness.


JAPANDROIDS: (Singing) (Unintelligible).

HERMES: Japandroids are shouting as much as ever on "Celebration Rock" and, to judge from their lyrics, they seem a bit obsessed with death and hell, which may seem weird for a band of fairly young dudes that don't come across as overly pious, but we all have our demons and our night fears and, if there's one thing this record drives home, it's that you're never too young to feel your mortality or to idealize your youth and you're never too old to sometimes feel like you want to scream.


CORNISH: The new album from Japandroids is called "Celebration Rock". Our reviewer, Will Hermes, is the author of the book "Love Goes to Buildings on Fire."



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