Near To The Wild Heart of Life is Japandroids fourth studio album. This band from Vancouver allows their Canadian heritage to shine proudly in its lyrics, like a less cheesy version of Robin Sparkles. This album has a slightly 90’s vibe, with its style of guitar and drum playing but has a Wombats vibe going too. It’s a great mix and is a must-listen for any indie music fan.
The eponymous track is a perfect introduction to what the rest of the album has to offer, with its fast paced tempo and indie-pop vibe, and a sprinkle of Canadian accent shining through. Considering the song is about getting fired up I’d say that it does just that for the rest of the album. ‘North East South West’ then blends in some acoustic, which goes well with the soothing but strong vocals, and the steam from the last song isn’t gone either.
Here the talk of Canada and Vancouver comes in, and it’s nice to have this sort of thing done in a song, a bit like Sonic Highways but easier to understand. ‘I’m Sorry For Not Finding You Sooner’ has a riff very similar to Boston’s More than a Feeling, which got me very excited. However it then feels static and the vocals are drowned out and fuzzy. To me this was a little experiment that didn’t work out well.
‘Arc of Bar’ doesn’t just stand apart for it’s length (seven and a half minutes), it also uses some sort of synth pop along with the guitar to create a unique sound. Here the vocals are better, but just feel not as inspired as earlier tracks, forgettable.
Although the album is good, it stagnates a bit in the middle.