Japandroids have been delighting fans of straight-down-the-line noisy indie-rock for years now, though they’ve left it four years since releasing their last album. Near To The Wild Heart Of Life, their third full-length, apparently dispenses with the rules the band imposed on themselves beforehand, meaning that such things a synths(!) creep into the songs here and there. Still sounds fully Japandroids though. Out on Anti.
- LP £21.49
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- 8714092745535 / Deluxe, limited clear vinyl LP on Anti. Includes 24-page booklet + poster. Edition of 1000 copies
- Includes download code
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Today, for reasons unbeknownst though secretly knownst, we listened to Oasis’ ‘Definitely Maybe’. In the office. For a while. And while you have now stopped reading this review, I would like to go on to say that I never realised how loud it is. Overdriven, chuggy and as unleashed as Britpop can be, I now believe that Japandroids entire career may have been predicated on it. They aren’t rebooting “Supersonic” for a new generation on ‘Near to the Wild Heart of Life’, but with the same propensity for cigarettes, alcohol and being lovely loud dickheads, they remind me of the same belief I used to have when I was a teen and thought those were the biggest songs I’d ever hear.
This record continues the stadium-garage rock of Japandroids old, the band marching on with their supercharged, hyper-anthemic rock as if nothing’s changed. Their first song is about leaving home in a blaze of glory, with the usual gorgeous chord progressions and “woah ohs!” plus a bit of synth to pad things out. Freezeframe: I said synths, and while this record is the exact same proposition of Japandroids, they do it with a couple new methods. Acoustic guitars come fumbling out on “North East South West”, adding a minutiae of folksiness to their overdriven emo -- the distortion comes in just as fast and their needlessly (but gloriously!) shouted gang vocals go hard enough to make you forget anything’s changed.
Japandroids have been away for a while, and in their absence pop-punk’s version of emo has enjoyed a spring of new releases that make them sound comfortably at home in the indie rock world: all the “woah oh oh oh ohs!” and huge declarations no longer feel like a big deal. A tune like “True Love and a Free Life of Free Will” feels oddly neutered without the big hooks to back up the big amplification -- you can notice when a song is coasting rather than soaring. It’s when a song is massive and gorgeous that I want to listen to Japandroids: “I’m Sorry (For Not Finding You Sooner)” marches into view like their first record’s closing cut “I Quit Girls”, championing its melodies as it gets bigger until it fades into a watery outro. Thankfully, they're pretty good at making the perfect song to fit their typical formula. The new instruments? A nice touch, and oddly a reminder that Japandroids will always be this exact band your stupid, drunken heart expects.
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