“Born of a bottle, from heaven’s hand, and now you know and here I am.”
It’s comforting that there are musicians out there still confident in the power and virtue of simple, raw, and energetic rock and roll. In an indie scene plagued by the influence of dance-pop, our ADD generation seems to be satisfied by trite, overt hooks swimming in a mire of the most up-to-date synth tones. Vocals are drowned in effects and drummers are replaced by machines. Amongst this cultural shitstorm of live-updating feeds and blogs touting the next-best thing every hour, there is a timelessness to what Japandroids have done here. “The House That Heaven Built” is a visceral, churning, and utterly genuine testament to youth. Guitarist and lead vocalist Brian King’s lyrics are not veiled in the intentionally archaic. Japandroids have nothing to hide about themselves or their message. King’s scream-sing punches you in the gut without apology, “And if they try to slow you down, tell them all to go to hell.” The sheer force generated from this duo is impressive, thanks to patient, thunderous drums and walls of distorted guitar. These two regular-ass guys from Vancouver have somehow captured the desperation, hopelessness, anger, and fear of being a young person in our world right now and found hope and inspiration in wild nights, big cities, and each other. Japandroids are the kids Craig Finn sings about. Instead of storytelling mystique, we get brutal honesty in the moment of its inception, and though there are nods to Hold Steady-style songwriting (choral oh oh oh’s and the major chord drone of an opening riff), it feels more real. It’s a punk mentality with a rock n’ roll heart that builds in intensity the entire song. A perfect soundtrack for the summer, “The House That Heaven Built” makes me believe in myself and the world again. The full LP, Celebration Rock, is out June 5th.