Friday, April 25, 2008

Tokyo Police Club - Elephant Shell

Tokyo Police Club’s EP A Lesson In Crime is still one of the first pieces of music I put my hands on when I just feel the need for a good time. There is just something about short songs that have so much energy in them that they are like caffeine in musical format. Their latest release (and first full length album released on Saddle Creek) follows quickly in its footsteps. The best part about Elephant Shell is the clear growth that has come along with the band, while not losing the pop that sucked me in at the start.

With Josh Hook laying guitar riffs that sound like they were lifted straight out of Albert Hammond, Jr’s mind, the bright guitar is sort of like that junior high school friend you had that you lost touch with for a while but quickly remember why you were friends in the first place. These fast pace guitar riffs coexist with the continued motif of thick bass lines and heavy drum beats that bounce you to and fro. Keyboards provide a texture to the sound helping it exist in the context of where Indie Pop is today. All of this is layered with Dave Monks high pitched and distinct vocals that really give the sound the edge it needs to stand out.

The album as a whole moves fast. As soon as you start it, it seems to end all too suddenly. This wholly makes sense when you take a second and look at the track length listings. While the album contains a full helping of 11 tracks, only one clocks in at over 3 minutes long. Luckily enough, this happens to be one of the best tracks on the album “Your English is Good.” On this track, TPC go back to the choral type chant that appeared on A Lesson In Crime. Once sucked in by the chanting of “Oh, give us your vote / give us your vote / if you know / what’s good for you” over a simple click of drum sticks and bouncing keyboard lines, the full song comes in true TPC style. With lyrics like “And until the tramp finds Christ / Injustice is my middle name,” you have to sit and wonder how something that has you dancing so gleefully can also exist with a dark side.

The only unfortunate piece of Tokyo Police Club’s latest work is the Limited Edition Bonus Remix Disc that came with it. It seems hard to imagine that an original song that would make you want to dance could be remixed into a song that makes you want to press stop. Maybe its just this hipster alone, but I don’t see where they were going with these, and are thankful they came on a separate disc from the actual album.

MP3: Your English is Good

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