Near to the Wild Heart of Life

Japandroids - Near to the Wild Heart of Life
Critic Score
Based on 35 reviews
2017 Ratings: #247 / 817
User Score
Based on 224 ratings
2017 Ratings: #575
January 27, 2017 / Release Date
LP / Format
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Indie Rock / Genres
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Entertainment Weekly

Noisy but built on articulate songwriting, Near radiates a sincerity often missing from bands this brash. At a time of doubt and fear, it’s screamingly optimistic.

A.V. Club
The band has expanded its sound while hewing close to what it does best.
Pretty Much Amazing

The luminous Near to the Wild Heart of Life arrives as an imperfect, if sorely needed, import from the Great White North. Japandroids return, proud Canadians, to provide the right medicine at a dark time.

The Line of Best Fit

Near To The Wild Heart Of Life is proof that, while Japandroids are still capable of the cathartic sermons that can lead to hoarse voices and declarations of love, they can break from the formula and deliver something fresh and exciting.


Now, even in the face of life’s measured expectations, they’re still inspiring. This is the secret of Japandroids charm: they’re able to make your humanity feel herculean.

Northern Transmissions

There’s no denying that some of the edge of the group’s previous work has been rounded on Near to the Wild Heart of Life. Those looking for the classic Japandroids experience will still find it—complete with “Woah!”s, “Yeah!”s, and endless reasons to crowd surf—but they certainly won’t find as much of it.

NOW Magazine

Some may yearn for more of Celebration Rock’s high voltage, but by changing gears they’ve added more depth and variation to those shout-along choruses we love so much.


Comfortably impressive, it’s difficult to see how Near To The Wild Heart Of Life will leave the turntable once it gets spinning. Despite being less striking than its predecessor, it’s another great Japandroids album.

Under The Radar

You already know if you want a Japandroids' album-once again, they've provided a 30-minute blast of hopeful, soaring rock. There are some differences on this album (better lyrics, different instruments, and better mixing), but perhaps the biggest difference is a world in which a blast of hope is more needed than ever.


Near to the Wild Heart of Life isn't the record fans waited five years for. But backed into a corner, Japandroids have penned a truly great record filled with all the guitar hooks, shout-along choruses about nights spent drinking, sweating and longing to be somewhere else that we've come to expect.

Rolling Stone
Even when they were screaming Vancouver scrappers recording songs like "Darkness at the Edge of Gastown," you knew there was a classic rock act at the punk heart of Japandroids. On their third LP, that band is out of the closet.
American Songwriter

The good news is that Japandroids once again have delivered the cathartic goods, even if the similarities to the previous album dull the sense of discovery some.

God Is in the TV

Don’t get me wrong, this is yet another consummate collection of sing-a-long, shouty anthems but there is restraint here too. Only on current single ‘No Known Drink Or Drug‘ does the hand brake totally come off and the lads propel themselves at breakneck speed as if searching for the God particle itself.


An expansive record which fizzes with a desire to play around with the possibilities of the studio rather than the stage, shifting the parameters of their music beyond the fast and frantic.

The Guardian

Previous records had a lo-fi garage edginess to them – skittish drums, lyrical yelps, cavalcades of crunch – but Near to the Wild Heart of Life, their third album, is so luxuriously gnarled it roars out of the speakers like the Revenant bear.

The Independent

The past has rather overwhelmed them already, with their blend of anthemic Springsteen drive and Replacements raggedy-ass rock marshalled mostly in the service of simplistic rock’n’roll sentiments. 


Near to the Wild Heart of Life is a worthy expansion built upon the formidable bedrock lain in albums past. This is a different Japandroids, a band reborn after spending the last three-ish years in the process of coming to grips with their success and significant life changes.


For the most part, Near to the Wild Heart of Life sticks to the Japandroids M.O., but the end results are less enticing.

No Ripcord

Japandroids have finally reached a point in their careers where they’re perfectly content in embracing the average, but there’s still a good amount of reflection found on Near to the Wild Heart... to follow their long journey.

Loud and Quiet

Japandroids aren’t going 100mph anymore but that’s ok, because for the first time, it feels like they know where they want to go.

It wears its emotions proudly, however ugly some of them might be, while managing to tap in to something that feels bigger than the sum of its parts. A bold and confident return.
If they remain a little constrained by their formalism -- they're so determined to be part of a tradition they can often be swallowed by it -- it's nevertheless hard not to admire their ambition.
Drowned in Sound

There’s plenty of Near to the Wild Heart of Life that carries the essential appeal of the band in spades, namely, a dedication to giving it your all until you collapse with euphoria and exhaustion.

Consequence of Sound

It seems Japandroids sought out a new way of writing, and when a band takes risks, they run the chance of losing their heart. At various points throughout, Near To The Wild Heart Of Life seems victim of exactly that.

The 405

By removing its circumstantial baggage entirely, The Wild Heart Of Life is satisfying and uplifting, and continuously so. But it feels in every way – sans the band’s personal serenity – a regression after Celebration Rock.

While Japandroids have always walked a tightrope between classic rock and straight-up punk, ‘Near To The Wild Heart Of Life’ finds their footing wobbling for the first time. Given time to stretch those aching muscles, though, there’s little doubting their ability to deliver on this newfound ambition.
Crack Magazine

While the stadium-friendly bombast of Near to the Wild Heart of Life might turn off a lot of listeners, off the back of the most wretched year in living memory Japandroids’ anthemic punk optimism is a momentary relief from the terror of now.

Tiny Mix Tapes

Near to the Wild Heart of Life provides ready mantras of exhaustion and energy, and exhausted is probably the simplest way I can describe feeling after listening to this short collection of eight tracks.


Strangely inert for a band that practically built their brand on hurtling recklessly forward, Near to the Wild Heart of Life is the sound of a comfortable band stretching the limits of their sound and their fans’ goodwill.

I dont usually make long reviews because im normally to lazy and hispanic(cus of languaje) to write my complete thoughts on a piece of music. But since im still so deeply confused on why Celebration Rock and Post-Nothing are praised, and why this record is getting so much good feedback (which till a certain point pisses me out (not to be an asshole or anything)), i really felt the need to give my complete opinion.

If you've ever been in a band, music class, or any sort of musical ensemble, ... read more
With the Canadian duo's second album, Celebration Rock, they released one of the most upbeat and authentic rock albums of the 2010's, one that I see as one of the best overall of this decade. After almost 4 years stagnant, they come back with a terrific elaboration on the style that they created back in 2009. The loose concept of travel and what occurs on those ventures is the most memorable part of this album in my opinion; it brings a new and interesting take on what rock musicians ... read more
Notorious indie-rock duo Japandroids are finally back with the highly anticipated follow-up to their 2012 album Celebration Rock - a strong, energetic and vivacious piece of rock music that proved the band's worth with anthemic choruses, bombastic drum fills and razor-sharp guitar riffs that rimmed with life and personality. Their third full lenght album, Near to the Wild Heart of Life, though, is an undeniable let down, especially since it was bestowed with the tough task of following such a ... read more
To me, this album smokes the first two, imo they're really coming into their own a bit with this new record. The previous two albums just felt really generic to me, felt like I was just hearing the same song 8 times with very subtle variations each time. On Near to the Wild Heart of Life, it feels like they really sat down and crafted a solid album with a lot more diversity, but still managed to maintain a good sense of fun and maturity at the same time too. I dug it a lot, not bad at all.
I can't understand, what specifically the people see in this band? This album is enjoyable, but nothing new, nothing impressive. In some moments confronts the indie rock clichés. What I'm saying?, all the whole album is generic. 'Hey, it needs to grown on you', I'm no joking I've listened to this one in his entirely more than 5 times, and every time sounds worst. Maybe if this album had come out in the year 2000, my impression would be different. Quoting the Pitchfork track review of ... read more
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Year End Lists

#6/Louder Than War
#81/Les Inrocks

Track List

  1. Near to the Wild Heart of Life
  2. North East South West
  3. True Love and a Free Life of Free Will
  4. I’m Sorry (For Not Finding You Sooner)
  5. Arc of Bar
  6. Midnight to Morning
  7. No Known Drink or Drug
  8. In a Body Like a Grave
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Added on: November 1, 2016