"Champ" by Tokyo Police Club

Tokyo Police Club
Champ

Mom & Pop Music
2010

Review

The first song I tried to learn to play on a guitar was "Nature of the Experiment" by Tokyo Police Club. It just sounded right to me, and it seemed like something that I could play. Well my guitar playing never really progressed to anything even approaching competency while Tokyo Police Club just continued to get better and better. In fact, their latest release "Champ" is yet another step in a positive direction for a band I have great admiration of. Sure they aren't that well known, but I hope that will change because at their best they make some damn good Rock music.

"Breakneck Speed" is solid indy rock goodness. that - while not exactly the best this group has to offer - is indicative of their potential. Of course, Tokyo Police Club's lyrics remain as interpretable and effervescent as ever. Take this bit from "Breakneck Speed"

Cause I'm still amazed you made it out alive after what you did
Born on your feet running forest fires underneath your bed
Well it's good it to be back
Good to be back
It's good to be back

Dave Monks sounds as lazy as ever. That's his thing though. It's that imperfect, but soulful voice. For example, the album opener "Favorite Food" takes a while to pick itself up, but once it does it's hard to deny.

Classic Hollywood is a kid with the volume up all the way
Now you do the same, and you're right
Things are better in black and white
There's another girl and another day
And your favorite foods still taste the same

The band is really at their best when either they are doing something that sounds nothing like what you expect from them, or when they are delivering exactly what you expect. Their normal sound is more like "Wait Up (Boots of Danger)" which starts out in the same vein as "Breakneck Speed" but with some extra goodness in the hooks that sell it entirely to an audience outside your normal shoe-gazing indy rock fanboys by having the audacity to be poppy; Tokyo Police Club are their best when there's a hint of pop-love to break out of that indy-rock label and mode. This is a case of that as is "Big Difference" which is another fast, strum-happy song with almost obscure lyrics and lots of very fast scales. If you don't like this pair of songs, then you don't like Tokyo Police Club (both sound like Interpol songs at double speed to me).

"Bambi" is the least Tokyo Police Club-like song I have ever heard from the band called "Tokyo Police Club". There's a heavy synth influence on this one which is different from what these guys usually put out and in many ways it reminds me of a poppy Tegan and Sara song (and I mean that in a good way since I love Tegan and Sara). This song is highly recommended (I tweeted as much).

These guys are not exactly indy rock darlings and they deserve to be. Take a peek at this album to find out why I feel that way and watch out for them. They are only getting better. In time, they will be "Champs". Right now though, they are are serious contenders.

4.091 out of 5

Track Ratings

1. Favourite Food (03:56) 4
2. Favourite Colour (02:38) 3
3. Breakneck Speed (03:44) 4
4. Wait Up (Boots of Danger) (03:08) 5
5. Bambi (02:46) 5
6. End of a Spark (03:37) 5
7. Hands Reversed (03:19) 4
8. Gone (03:04) 3
9. Big Difference (02:58) 5
10. Not Sick (02:58) 4
11. Frankenstein (03:31) 3