When listening to the opening song of Japandroids’ new album; title track ‘Near to the Wild Heart of Life’, it is inescapable to notice that there is something refreshingly familiar about it.
Immediately you cannot help but take note that this is not a release that will send musical history spiralling into a new direction, but this song – much like the rest of the album, is a well-crafted callback to the simple indie rock that has been the foundations to many a teenagers’ musical stratosphere since the early 2000’s.
Nevertheless, it has been 5 years since Brian King and David Prowse last released a record and, although this album would sound equally at home at any point in the last ten years, you can hear echoes of the Canadians growing musically, with new romantic relationships and a new record label (American outfit ANTI-) making an impact on the duo’s output.
Near to the Wild Heart of Life is the product of a band that are growing more mature, settling into their touring lifestyle (North East South West) and celebrating their stable relationships (I’m sorry for not Finding you Sooner) – the latter of which acts as a great halfway point of the album and rest bite from the tirade of punk rock power chords.
The album’s fifth track ‘Arc of Bar’ has the flow of an enjoyable, sellable single, tinged with the delayed electro guitar of Kasabian’s finer hits. The single’s 7:25 may hinder it’s radio play, but it could add a fun new dimension to the duo’s live sets.
The 8-track record concludes consistently, with accessible rhyming schemes, typical of the pop-punk genre that the album harks back too; at times staying just inches away from being predictable.
There is little more to be said about Japandroids’ third LP, other than that it is an enjoyable release, that has harnessed the ability to successfully take any pop-punk-indie-rock fan on a pleasing revisit to the genre.
Japandroids’ Near to the Wild Heart of Life comes out January 27th via Anti- Records. You can pre-order it here.
Words by Matt Ganfield