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Tokyo Police Club are a four-piece from Canada and 'Champ' is their second album. Their first, 'Elephant Shell' (2008), was a perky debut which is worth stepping back in time to hear for its crude energy. 'Champ' has clearly had a bit more money thrown at it. The production is slicker and classier which befits the development in the band's songwriting skills and ability to construct arrangements of somewhat greater complexity. The advances have not occurred, however, with any perceptible reduction in verve and enthusiasm. They still have pazazz in abundance!!
The ensemble comprise : Dave Monks/vocals and bass; Josh Hook/guitar; Graham Wright/keyboards and Greg Alsop/drums. Mr Monks is a fine front man. His laconic drawl serves their sparky and spiky style well.
There are eleven tracks to contend with and I found something to enjoy in all of them. There are very few frills or fripperies to negotiate. The songs make their point without the need for unnecessary detail or decoration. Which is not to say that the material lacks imagination. The quirky time-signatures and sharply conceived vocal harmonies display more than a little evidence of finely-honed musical intelligence.
The uncertain shifting introduction to opening track 'Favorite Food' eventually settles down to reveal a delightfully robust composition with a neatly circular melody and somewhat mournful lyrics atmospherically intoned by Mr Monks. Things pick up and take off at greater speed about halfway through propelled along by Mr Hook's big jangly guitar chords (a sound which defines much of what is distinctive and memorable about the band's sound).
'Favorite Colour' sounds far more English than its Trans-Atlantic origins might suggest. Mr H's continually cracking playing together with Mr Alsop's rock-solid drumming contribute real drama to this raucous arrangement.
'End Of A Spark' is a particular favorite. A dense four-square number which communicates both pathos and passion. I have a feeling that it may be Mr Monk's favorite too. Singing with palpable passion it is his strongest performance in the set.
The spirit of Mr Zimmerman seems to inhabit Mr Monk's being for a moment or two on 'Hands Reversed' but his presence is both subtle and benign.
'Big Difference' carouses along at a cracking pace. A runaway train of a song with sparks spitting out in all directions between wheels and rails!
Final track 'Frankenstein' shows no signs of spare-part surgery. It is an entirely coherent and well-formed composition which brings this fine project to a powerful conclusion. What little horror resides here is manfully contained in Mr Monk's characteristic snarl. A gentle beast of a song.
When TPC where releasing a new album I wondered if it would be up to the standard of some of their other stuff like the elephant shell album and man did they deliver... This album has kept up my %100 like of their songs ^ ^
I bought this as a recommendation from a friend, and I don't have anything bad to say about this album, it's varied in tone and each song is uniquely brilliant. My favourites so far are "Gone to the coast" and "favourite food", both songs I think will become some of my summer anthems!