The circumstances of a Japandroids song almost can’t help but sound urgent, at times even dire. There’s a sustained rush the Vancouver duo are so adept at creating that sweeps you up and doesn’t let go. Even when they dialed back, just a bit, on the first single and title track of Near to the Wild Heart of Life, they still sounded as though they were rushing headlong into the void.
New single “No Known Drink or Drug” plots a similar course to its predecessor. The white-knuckle intensity of Post Nothing and Celebration Rock is dulled by a “choir” of “sha na na na na”s and a little more melodicism from Brian King and David Prowse, which befits a song concerned with how conquering someone’s love can be. “No known drink and no known drug could ever hold a candle to your love,” they sing in unison in the track’s understatedly moving chorus. If for only a moment, that admission is the sound of growing up from the duo, a realization that the towering problems of life can’t be scaled alone.
Near to the Wild Heart of Life drops Jan. 27 through Anti- and based on the two singles, it’s going to be a monster. You can preorder the album here and listen to “No Known Drink or Drug” through Spotify or Apple Music. Check out Paste Cloud audio from the band’s 2009 Daytrotter session below. Beneath that, find the album’s lead single and title track.