Album Review: Japandroids Go “Near To The Wild Heart of Life”

There is a wildness to every human being that some understand is meant to be protected. That “wildness” is the part of your spirit that makes you creative, thoughtful, and even loving. When you think “wild”, you may presume savagery, but “wild” can also be the freedom and power you feel when you stand connected with the world. Japandroids’ Near To The Wild Heart of Life is a celebration of human connection. 

There is no doubt Near To The Wild Heart of Life aims for bigness in production with guitar and drum arrangements that sound like they were made for a film about Millennial youths. This may come off “cheesy”, but it is actually fantastic. The record strikes for the idealism of youth and the starry wonders defining this era that can actually be a harsher reality than perceived. Yet, Near To The Wild Heart of Life is an 8 track vision of young people dancing, drinking, and dreaming with friends to songs like “Near To The Wild Heart of Life”, “Midnight To Morning”, and “True Love and Free Life of Free Will”. Still, the most important thing this batch of “youngsters” can do for Japandroids is dream. Thematically, Near To The Wild Heart of Life is a study of how we keep and further the child-like perspectives we have on life and our future. For me, whenever we look back to our younger days, it is how present we were in our excitements, loves, and possibilities that were truly miss, and Japandroids understand that.

No one misses their childhood as much as their childlike perspectives, and how they saw the world as something to be conquered rather than a conqueror. Japandroids wrote Near To The Wild Heart of Life as rock n’ roll optimism; using the big personality and rhythms of the genre to ignite in listeners a feeling of faith in life. When you listen to “Arc of Bar” and “I’m Sorry (For Not Finding You Sooner)”, there is a sense of love that brims from its lyrical observances of life. From your favorite, dilapidated bar to the lover or friend that makes you feel less alone in your “craziness”, the riches in life do not have to be gold. Instead, they are wealth in spirit, to which singer Brian Prowse elaborates by giving his voice a potent, audible rasp. He vocally displays a worn sentiment that comes not from weakness but joy, like a man whose voice has gotten a deeper tone from cheering and laughing so much. This vocal “happiness” shows the brightness of Japandroids’ lyrics, and makes you feel like you are traveling with Brian and his brother/ fellow bandmate David Prowse as they clandestinely created the album in Vancouver, Toronto, New Orleans, and Mexico City. 

There is a worldliness to Japandroids’ Near To The Wild Heart of Life that comes from both sound and message: there is more to enjoy in life than to cry about. This notion is so powerful giving what is occurring in the world right now. People are discouraged, especially youths, whom feel the future is more than just bleak: it is blank. Not a lot of people are dreaming of a better world or even daring to hope for one, but Near To The Wild Heart of Life is a humbling album that shows a better world is only possible if you recognize the good one you have. The “better” to come arrives from the good that is. Japandroids are certainly good, and on January 27 you can buy tNear To The Wild Heart of Life by Clicking Here.