Loud, earnest and full of life, Japandroids will aim to please at Fillmore show

Courtesy PhotoVancouver rockers: Brian King

You know the theory that says an infinite number of monkeys with an infinite number of typewriters will eventually reproduce Shakespearean works?

Those simians could double their efforts and still not come up with a more appropriate title for the Japandroids’ second album, serendipitously called “Celebration Rock.”

The Vancouver duo, who play the Fillmore on Tuesday, compose brashly defiant and blisteringly loud paeans. But what makes their latest album so compelling — and title so fitting — is the songs’ urgency and self-awareness.

Knowing they won’t be around forever, Brian King and David Prowse, in the band for six years, are embracing what they have now.  

“We’ve never planned anything in advance, so we very much live in the moment,” said King. “We treat everything like it’s fleeting, like it’s going to end soon, so we try to make the absolute biggest impression we can with the chances we have. We still don’t know if we’re going to make another record — our motivation for making ‘Celebration Rock’ was that if it happens to be our last album, it’s going to be our best one.”

Critics and listeners have responded. The album reached No. 37 on the Billboard 200 and was shortlisted for the Polaris Prize, Canada’s version of the Grammys.

The accolades are sweet validation for a band that seriously considered breaking up as it struggled to make it in Vancouver.

“At the time, we were just some local band, so the idea of breaking up was very normal,” says King. “Looking back, it was a really good choice not to.”

Japandroids’ song structures may seem simple upon first listen — King’s guitar histrionics and Prowse’s maniacal drumming are accompanied by refrains flush with little other than “whoa!” and “oh! oh! oh!” But the lack of irony sets the band apart.  

“‘Celebration Rock’ isn’t just a good name for an album, it completely represents the band as whole,” says King. “We make songs that are purely celebratory because that is the best side of the band.”

“The House That Heaven Built,” with its call-and-response chorus and relentless, Springsteen-like pace, may be 2012’s best song. Its lyrics — “It’s a lifeless life/with no fixed address to give/ but you’re not mine to die for anymore/so I must live” — could sound disingenuous or pandering, if King didn’t sing with such clear authority.

After playing locally at the Hemlock and the Independent, King said he was a little nervous about appearing at the venerable Fillmore. But he says fans who do show up will be in for a good time: “As long as it’s filled with people, I’m confident we can make them happy.”

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

artsFillmoremusicPop Music & JazzVancouver

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