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Music Review: Tokyo Police Club – Champ

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Tokyo Police Club’s Champ feels like a trip back to whatever small town you were from and a visit to whatever small girl it was you used to like when you used to be a small boy.

Filled with songs that barely escape three minutes, the second record from Newmarket’s favourite sons is a more emotional effort than Elephant Shell but it still maintains the energy and fun that made that first LP shine.

Of course, it’s been hard for Tokyo Police Club to climb ahead of the hype around their fantastic debut Lesson in Crime EP. While some, like myself, have admired their ability to tell sharp, concise stories in relatively short and simple spaces, others have pined for the days of yore.

Frontman David Monks is again picking up on the angles he delivered with Elephant Shell. His vocals carry more weight to them and his stories feel richer, expanding into memories of childhood and sunny days when school was out and friends came to visit through the bedroom window.

For Tokyo Police Club, the name of the game is filling in the spaces with catchy pop hooks and delectably sweet melodies. Champ has no shortage of either, keeping to a charming pattern of delivering radio-ready, digestible tunes that play excellently with a big tall pitcher of Kool-Aid and some fun on the trampoline.

Tokyo Police Club no longer has to live up to the magic of Lessons in Crime, allowing the quartet every opportunity to spread their wings into more melodic territory.

Champ begins with “Favourite Food” and “Favourite Colour,” a pair of tracks that crackle with the sweetness of summer rain. The off-kilter “tune up” of “Favourite Food” lies perfectly with the band’s hesitancy to pull the song out to its natural pace and the beauty of the marvellous hooks of “Favourite Colour” is sometimes hard to bear. The choruses are addictive.

“Hands Reversed” is probably my favourite track on the album. Monks sings “Because the breakfast of champions is a hedonistic hell” with deadpan accuracy, unloading one of the album’s great lyrics like a weight on his shoulders. At the same time, the band keeps it light and poppy with gently swaying guitar and keys.

Like Elephant Shell, Champ is an album of memories. Not all of them are grand and some of them are confusing, like the time that small girl you used to like when you used to be a small boy almost kissed your small nose but turned away at the last damned second, but the luxury isn’t often in the good or bad of the remembrance – it’s in the remembering itself.

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About Jordan Richardson

  • Heathbrook Rowan James Badhwar

    Beautiful and Very Melodic, However I do hear the heavy pop influences and they somewhat seem to take from the originality of the older work. Don’t get me wrong I love this so far, but I’m only half way done listening as I type this. My immediate reaction is very impressed and not what I was expecting, however I disagree with the writer of the review when he says that there is more emotion than Elephant Shell. I feel the same angst and emotions captured in the lyrics, only presented differently, however Tokyo is an acquired taste that grew on me fast and I guess are is really all about interpretation. Maybe I’m just so used to singing the older releases at top pace with my blood pumping and heart racing; it will take a few listens over to get used to and fully sink in to this more radio friendly Tokyo Police Club. Consequently… I love you guys.. Keep up the good work and never let anything anyone says (especially me) stop you from implementing new sounds into your style, tis the nature of the experiment ^^

  • Heathbrook Rowan James Badhwar

    …**art** is really about interpretation…
    (its late,.. goodnight)

  • Heathbrook Rowan James Badhwar

    I’m going to purchase the full album in a few hours as soon as school finishes. I downloaded Breakneck Speed from TPC official site and It is really growing on me. I love what you guys have done and think everyone should listen to it a few times before they judge it. Also be sure to find a good quality track, I love Tokyos new work, and now that I have heard it multiple times I am tempted to say It is my favourite release (Go Canada) so far. I am really digging this. I hope I get to see the upcoming Toronto show

  • http://popsiculturereviews.blogspot.com popsiculture

    I liked Champ, it has some really nice hooks, and catchy choruses. Best thing on the album though is ‘Not Sick’, it had more energy and drive about it. Makes me wonder why couldn’t they make a whole album that good??