It’s been about 5 years since Japandroids dropped their last album Celebration Rock. It was the first album of theirs that I heard and I was immediately drawn to their raw, loud, almost garage rock style and it became one of those albums that I found myself returning to over and over again. Off that album alone they became one of my favorite bands, but 5 years is a long time in music and there’s no guarantees that they’d be able to capture that magic again on Near To The Wild Heart Of Life.
The thing about Japandroids that really drew me to their music was in how they seemed they boil it all down to the very essence of rock and roll. They took the simplest and most basic elements of the genre (guitar, drums, and vocals), and poured their all into it, creating some of the more earnest rock and roll you’ll hear these days. Thankfully, they don’t turn away from this earnest rock on Near To The Wild Heart Of Life and a lot of what I liked so much about them in the first place is still front and center. I will say however, that the music is lacking some of that raw, rough charm they had on their previous work. It has an almost “too polished” feel to it that’s evidence of musicians who’ve improved in their profession, but ironically lost some of that amateur charm. Not so much that it ruins the experience, but it’s evident. With that being said, “In A Body Like A Grave” is as good as any song I’ve heard from them, “Midnight To Morning” is that scream out loud rock I like so much from them, and “Arc Of Bar”, while having a somewhat underwhelming ending, is unlike anything I’ve heard from them before (in a good way).
“And age is a traitor and, bit by bit
Less lust for life, more talking shit
But remember there’s heaven in the hellest of holes
And a drink for the body is a dream for the soul
Well, tell will time, but best be awares
That time is money and money swears
So break the bank like you’re breaking a building
Love so hard that time stands still”
Japandroids’ songwriting has always been about the lust for life and the raw emotions of feeling “alive”. They crafted loud anthems to this theme in Celebration Rock and it’s a theme they continue to push on Near To The Wild Heart Of Life. It’s always been fun, straightforward rock with lines belted out with a firm grin in place and after 5 years they haven’t seemed to lose too much of a step. Near To The Wild Heart Of Life may not reach the same monumental highs as their previous album, but it’s still a great listen and a worthy addition to the collection.
Have you heard Near To The Wild Heart Of Life? What’d you think about it? Do you think they picked up right where they left off 5 years ago? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave your rating for the album.
Get more awesome content
in your inbox
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting content in your inbox every week.
Thank you for subscribing.