On January 27, 2017, Japandroids released their first full-length LP in five years, titled Into the Wild Heart of Life. Japandroids is a rock band from Vancouver. Their album debut, Post-Nothing, achieved critical acclaim in 2009. They achieved further recognition with 2012’s Celebration Rock, and the band largely fell silent from 2013 until a return tour in 2016.
Most of Into the Wild Heart of Life is comprised of traditional guitar melodies accompanied by drums that sound more or less the same on every song. On every track, the lead guitar is allowed to roar into both channels so that the melody of the guitar and drums melts into a wall of noise.
Much of the appeal in the songs is found in the youthful tone of the catchy lyrics sung by lead singer Brian King. King’s voice is smooth and jovial, easing the energy created by the loud production. It stands out particularly on the final track, “In a Body Like a Grave”, where the rhythmic chanting of the song title accompanied by the noise-wall of the guitar provides a proper microcosm of the album’s tone as well as a quality closing track.
Into the Wild Heart of Life is a solid release by a solid act, but that’s all it aspires to be. Japandroids does not bring anything terribly novel or innovative to the table with this release, but fans of the Alt/Indie rock genre would do well to find space for it in their player. Into the Wild Heart of Life is out now on Anti-.