Japandroids – Near To The Wild Heart Of Life

Japandroids’ 2012 record, Celebration Rock, turned Japandroids from an acquaintance in my music world to an easy go-to. I’ve probably listened to that record all the way through fifty times. The almost careless, youthful lyrics take everyone off their feet from their current state and back into their shoes when they were sixteen and didn’t have a care in the world on a Friday night. At their stop at the Granada in Lawrence on their Celebration Rock tour, one of the things that stood out to me and those I went with was how incredibly difficult the drum parts were and how impressive it was to even try those while also offering backup vocals.

Anyway, fast forward a few years. No one had heard anything from the Vancouver post punk duo. I started to become uneasy, but when they announced an upcoming tour about a year ago, my ears perked up at the possibility of a new record from one of my favorite artists. It finally arrived in early 2017. In the build-up to the album, they spoke about how they “have quit the adrenaline nightshift—they want to make music they’ll still respect in the morning.” Now, this didn’t disappoint me necessarily – they were never going to try and recreate Celebration Rock. It was a one-time creation. Now, they promise to offer a record full of ballads rather than angsty post punk explosions.

Near To The Wild Heart Of Life does still offer something for the Celebration Rock worshippers such as myself, and it’s always refreshing to see artists alter their sound based on the record. Some tracks, like “Arc Of Bar,” had synths that hadn’t really been seen before from Japandroids. The title track acts as a wonderful introduction track that prepared the audience for the subtle and sometimes obvious changes in the duo’s overall sound.

2017 has been amazing so far and almost overwhelming. It’s difficult to listen to all the new good albums, but Japandroids weren’t going to slip by me – for long at least.

By: Dylan Swoyer

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