I wrote a bit about the upcoming Japandroids album for Substream Magazine’s 2017 preview. It’s available as a free digital issue right here.
Edit (6/27/2020): It’s been long enough and who knows who long these links will stay up, so the full text of my blurb is below. The album ended up being as great as I had hoped.
> Japandroids already have one modern classic under their belts with 2012’s Celebration Rock. It is at once a familiar album and a refreshing one, bursting with the youthful vigor and unbridled energy of thunderous drums and overdriven electric guitars. With earnest, fiery anthems like "The House That Heaven Built" and "Younger Us," the Canadian duo carved out a space somewhere between indie, punk, and pure rock and roll and became the de facto soundtrack to wild parties, late night drives, and raucous rock shows.
> Expectations for the follow-up to such a beloved album would be high no matter what, but three years of complete silence has elevated Japandroids to near mythical status. They had conquered seemingly overnight and then returned home just as quickly, leaving only a thank you note and no guarantee that they would ever play another show or go into the studio again. Fortunately, any fears that Japandroids would actually sleep forever, as their final Facebook post in 2013 indicated they might, were assuaged by their recent comeback tour and the announcement of Near To the Wild Heart of Life, due out in January.
> Japandroids have favored refinement over reinvention thus far in their career. The core themes and qualities of their 2009 full-length Post-Nothing and the preceeding EPs are found again on Celebration Rock, only with tighter performances and a more grandiose vision. The first taste of Near To the Wild Heart of Life bears this trend out. The rousing title track is a bold guitar rock tune with an instantly singable chorus about hitting the road and singing at the top of your lungs. Considering how well that formula has worked up to now, a major left turn is unlikely on the rest of the album. In other words, it should be more of what Japandroids do best, and that is great news for old and new fans alike.