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.
To put it in the words of Linda Richman, the "Coffee Talk" character Mike Myers used to play on SNL, "Tokyo Police Club neither hails from Japan nor is a law enforcement agency." Instead, the band is from Canada and plays a kinetic form of indie rock. Tokyo Police Club's name has been bandying about the blogs for quite a while, so it might come as a surprise that this is the band's first full-length. It follows two EPs (2006's A Lesson in Crime and last year's Smith) and the digital single "Your English Is Good." Elephant Shell finds the young Canuck hatchlings of Tokyo Police Club breaking bigger in both ambition and popularity.
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