Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tokyo Police Club - A Lesson in Crime

★★★★★ Tracks:
Nature of the Experiment
Citizens of Tomorrow
Shoulders & Arms

A kid lets out a breath of cool, red, Martian air as he remembers something his mother told him:

"This is not how we planned it
But we've gotten ahead of ourselves
Computers rule the planet
And the moon and mars as well
We lost the fight"

The boy now lives in a world where robots rule the world (and the moon and Mars), the people are microchipped slaves who build spaceships as they talk about the days when life was simpler. This is the premise to Tokyo Police Club’s terrific science fiction fantasy, “Citizens of Tomorrow.” The music matches the subject matter with the precision of a band that’s been doing it for years; synthy organs mimic the sounds of computer drones and empty dial tones, spastic guitars and a distorted bass line give the apex a nervous energy to match the hopelessness of humanity’s situation. It’s all done with a a sense of dark wit as well, as singer Dave Monks mournfully sings in the closing verse:

“I have a microchip
Implanted in my heart
So if I try to escape
The robots will blow me apart
And my limbs will go flying
And land before the ones that I love
Who would wail and would weep
But the robots would keep them at bay
While I shut my eyes
For the very last time
Citizens of tomorrow be forewarned”

The rest of the songs included on Tokyo Police Club's first ever release, A Lesson in Crime, are similar in style to that of “Citizens of Tomorrow;” dance-punk revivalism smoothly blended with more fascinations towards human destruction (“Shoulders & Arms,” “Le Ferrassie”), or lyrics of love (“Nature of the Experiment,” “Be Good”), or both (“Cheer It On”). The agitation associated with growing up, growing wary of big brother, and the confusing feelings associated with love are expertly captured here in a blazing sixteen minutes on their first EP. This young group received massive hype after just a few concerts, showcases, and the release of A Lesson in Crime. Could they repeat the incredible promise they showed here with their first proper full length? It's up next.

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