Track Review: Japandroids – “The House That Heaven Built”

[Polyvinyl; 2012]

With an album due out in June titled Celebration Rock, Japandoids’ first single from the collection lives up to that name. Hell, Japandroids as a band live up to the name Celebration Rock. But, any doubt that their newest collection could live up to the exuberance and immediacy brought forth in 2009’s Post Nothing is wiped clean a few seconds in to this new track, once the chant-along “oh oh oh”s start. Yes, “The House That Heaven Built” is an anthem, built around throat-straining yelps, stick-splintering snare pounds, and swirling guitar noise.

But, Japandroids have always been more than bro-rock that you can turn up loudly in the car for some ill-advised buzzed joyriding. The lyrics to “The House That Heaven Built” resonate, with its repeated center claiming “when they love you (and they will), tell them all that they’re loving my shadow / when they try to slow you down, tell them all to go to hell.” By the end of the song the roles reverse and the chorus gets repeated to nearly the five-minute mark, which, somehow, is just the right amount for the listener to absolutely believe everything they are being told. “The House That Heaven Built” is youthful music made by people who don’t believe that growing up means the end of anything; less nostalgia than a rallying cry to never lose what most people are nostalgic for.