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Raucus update on rock
Raucus update on rock

Music lovers attending St Jerome's Laneway Festival next year should prepare themselves for Japandroids. No fey indie hipsters or folk-space-pop-dubstep poseurs, this Canadian duo turn their guitar-and-drums assault up to 11 and beyond.

Judging from the chaos captured in pictures included in the CD sleeve of Japandroids' excellent second album Celebration Rock, their raucous update of Springsteen-esque bar-room rock causes quite a commotion.

When The Wire woke up singer/guitarist Brian King for a chat, he and drummer/ vocalist David Prowse were in Athens, Greece, finishing off a two-month blitzkrieg of Europe (their second) before heading to the UK.

The affable rocker yawns as he explains that they never know what reaction rabble-rousers such as The House That Heaven Built, Adrenaline Nightshift and the aptly titled Continuous Thunder might spark amongst fans.

"Dave and I can play as hard as we can possibly play and play the greatest show we've ever played from our point of view," King says. "But if that show is in, I don't know, Switzerland, it's not going to be very wild. But if that show is in Poland, yeah, it's gonna be pretty wild. I have no idea of the kind of reaction we're gonna get from the audiences in Australia."

Laneway will be part of an overdue first visit Down Under for Japandroids, who released their breakthrough debut, Post-Nothing, in 2009.

The pair, who met at the University of Victoria way back in 2000, had a long gestation writing mostly instrumentals while waiting for the right singer to come along. "Back in the day, we kind of wanted to be like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Not musically per se," King explains.

"We would stand in the background and rock out. We had this idea to have a more energetic and flashy lead singer."

Eventually, King and Prowse decided to plough ahead as a duo, using the super powers of sound guy, tour manager and unofficial third Japandroid, Lewis Lovely, to beef up their sound.

"Despite the fact we are a duo, our ambition is not to be a minimalist duo in the way that a lot of duos traditionally in rock have been," King explains.

"You know, the Kills, the White Stripes, the Black Keys.

"Dave and I actually want to sound like a five-person band."

Japandroids play St Jerome's Laneway Festival at the Perth Cultural Centre on February 9. Tickets from lanewayfestival.com.au.