To the untrained ear, Japandroid’s brand of highly distorted power punk is the perfect excuse to label them as one of the those “wanky bands,” that music critics purr over and hipsters say they love. In most preconceptions there is normally an element of truth, but forming your opinion of Japandroid’s before you’ve listened past the hype would be foolhardy; because this Vancouver duo write some of the most life affirming music around.
Their newest track, ‘The House That Heaven Built,’ is no different and is a sign that their soon to be released sophomore album, Celebration Rock, has built upon the sturdy foundations laid by ‘2010s excellent single ‘Younger Us.’ Whilst sonically, they’re still working within the same palette, this time every fuzzy guitar hook, vocal snarl and drum thud finds the perfect balance between sounding crisp without losing any of the lo-fi power that make all their records so vital. The track is unceasing from its opening bar and screams for your attention. Making obedient soldiers out of the hairs on the back of your neck, in the same way as the iconic folk punk anthems of Frank Turner.
Lyrically it manages keeps apace, capturing the sense of defiance you feel as you try to move on from a past love. When vocalist, Brian King, growls the end of the chorus “If they try to slow you down, tell em all to go to hell” you can feel his sentiment gathering strength with each repetition. This builds to the songs only moment of respite, when King delivers the devastating coup de grâce, “It’s a lifeless life, with no fixed address to give, but you’re not mine to die for anymore, so I must live.” Each line is delivered with a draining commitment that never sounds contrived or anything less than utterly honest. Which is gloriously ironic for a band so easily accused of pandering to the tonal artifice of the hipster elite.
The House That Heaven Built is out on Polyvinyl Records May 15, Pre Order Here