Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tokyo Police Club - Champ

★★★★★ Tracks:
Favourite Colour
Wait Up (Boots of Danger)

Extending the length of their songs was nearly all it took for Tokyo Police Club to make their evolving sound work. On the previous album the first track, “Centennial,” is one minute and fifty-four seconds long, so short in the context of all the ideas crammed in to it you can never familiarize yourself with its melody before it ends; an issue with most of Elephant Shell. Here on Champ we get a similar introductory track in approach (intros that build in volume and tone before culminating into guitar/synth driven pop-punk anthems), but clocking in at three minutes and fifty-five seconds the song has enough time for an introduction plus a fully fleshed out composition, full of solid hooks and a chorus. Songs like “End of a Spark” and “Wait Up” are perfect examples of the new refined Tokyo Police Club, which adapt a more straightforward verse/chorus/verse structure -- the key difference being the added length allows for the instrumental highlights to breathe and flow more organically. “Breakneck Speed” and “Hands Reversed” are impressive slower tempo songs, adding more versatility to the group's arsenal. And while Champ still has a few songs clocking in under three minutes, they are simpler and more contagious, with “Bambi” (at 2:44) being the highlight of the entire album.

The juvenile lyricism is still a bit of an obstacle but Monks has harnessed his nasally delivery, removing the most grating quality to the songs on Elephant Shell. Tokyo Police Club continue to move further away from the garage and punk rock I preferred off of their first two EPs, but Champ sees the band improving and growing more confident in their sound. By doing so they’ve turned me from an outright skeptic, to optimistically awaiting their next release.

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