Reviews: Tokyo Police Club

Tokyo Police Club's

Think back to high school when you first heard Bright Eyes and Cursive; then, think about that time you went to Canada for spring break your sophomore year in college and went to a punk show; then, throw in your maturing identity mixed with a vision of road-less journeying, and you’ve got a good idea of Tokyo Police Club. The four-person band, coming out of Newmarket, Ontario, consists of four friends—singer and bassist Dave Monks, guitarist Josh Hook, keyboardist Graham Wright, and drummer Greg Alsop—who started playing together their senior year in high school. After releasing two EP’s, Tokyo Police Club just released their first full-length album Elephant Shell last week on the indie-label Saddle Creek (it will also be released in May by Memphis Industries in the UK).

I personally can’t get enough of this album, and I’m a bit shocked by this. While I am primarily attracted to the melancholic, lo-fi, Americana folk scene, Tokyo Police Club’s post-punk, garage-rock, power-pop, and (at times) psychedelic sound mixed with Monks’ post-adolescent vocals is refreshing and invigorating. The 1-2-3 energetic punches tied in with tight-loops and impressive lead guitar playing has high party-music-potential as the dance floor will be nothing short of explosive. Lyrically, it’s difficult to follow Monks. The metaphors he fabricates are so dense that you don’t know what he’s trying to get across; then again, maybe that is part of the point. That said, the more you listen to the album the more you feel connected to it, as if there are layers you need to get through in order for it to really get inside of you as well. All in all, this first full-length album, unlike lots of other first LP’s, consists of a mature, meticulously created sound and it will only be shocking as to how the foursome develops over the years.

Already raved about by Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone, Tokyo Police Club’s first album is sure to get lots of attention by indie-music lovers and high-end media equally. While Saddle Creek is home to some of indie-music’s original visionaries, the addition of Tokyo Police Club could certainly be seen as not only part of the avant-garde characteristic of Saddle Creek but, also, as a re-visioning of where indie-music is heading. And, as the quartet’s myspace states, where indie-music is heading is one where roads are superfluous. This cutting-edge album gives one a sense of hope for not only building off past avant-garde bands, but of creating a sound that will be the foundation for bands to come.

— Christopher Green