It has been five years since Japandroids created new music, but the Vancouver duo has returned to the scene with the release of their new album Near to the Wild Heart of Life on Jan. 27. Originally writing music during the late 2000s, Japandroids had already missed the era of garage band rock. The genre itself was made popular in the early 2000s, by bands like Sum 41, Weezer, and Blink 182.
Now in 2017, Japandroids are bringing back the genre with their new album. The band managed to tone down some of the heavy electric guitar from their previous album and created a new definition of punk rock. Their new songs still remind us of the days of low-cut jeans, heavy black liner and flat-ironed hair. Yet the sound manages to fit into today’s musical style. Gone are the days of dark, emo lyrics and the sound of Celebration Rock and No Singles.
After an ascending intro, mocking the long wait Japandroid fans had for this new album, the song opens up into something shockingly pleasant. The band now has fallen under more of an alternative rock genre.
They’ve dropped dark melodies and borrowed classic Americana/Folk themes of wildness, love and home and have definitely opened themselves up to a new (wild) life. In all, the sound is far more pleasant and the lyrics are more distinguishable than their noisy-rock days.
The only exception to this is I’m Sorry, which brings that classic Japandroids sound back into the mix and the only song that falls short on the album. Its limited lyrics are covered by a limited and noisy track.
Midnight to Morning is the strongest track on the album. Due to the fact that it is plain and simple, the song speaks about returning home to his love, with a softer, acoustic-sounding guitar.
It’s pleasant and reminiscent in a way that speaks to modern indie/folk trends. This same-acoustic style is brought into their last song Body like a Grave, which ties up the album perfectly.
It’s a final reminder that this new sound is here to stay. Although they dropped their emo-like sound, the music is more emotional than ever before, opening themselves to love and heartache.
Hard-core Japandroid fans will be shaken up with this new sound, but their album will definitely attract new fans seeking the perfect blend of garage rock, indie and Americana. Near to the Wild Heart of Life is the perfect break to a five-year hiatus.
This piece was edited by Micaela Tesi , music editor of CanCulture.