With their 2006 EP, A Lesson in Crime, Tokyo Police Club announced that they could be the bridge between the dreamy guitars of Broken Social Scene and the nervy, wired energy of Talking Heads ’77-style punk. Few albums have gotten such contrasting melody and rhythm sections to mesh so well. Yet the harmonies of A Lesson in Crime seem to have deserted Tokyo Police Club with their first full-length, Elephant Shell.
David Monks’ bass lines, the spark plug of A Lesson in Crime, are buried in the mix, and Greg Alson’s increasingly repetitive drumming is not enough to bail him out. Furthermore, Monks’ vocals and lyrics have traded in angsty politics for Colin Meloy-esque faux-naval/pirate tales, an aesthetic that does not mesh with any other element of the music.
Transcendent tracks like “Your English is Good” and “In a Cave” indicate that there’s still room to grow on subsequent Tokyo Police Club releases. But for now, the band seems to have lost its mojo.