Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tokyo Police Club: Champ

Once dubbed "the Canadian Strokes," the gang from Ontario probably had too much pressure put on them after they recorded A Lesson in Crime EP when they were teenagers.  For some reason, their debut LP, Elephant Shell, seemed to fall relatively flat.  Undeterred, the Canucks left Saddle Creek Records (free sampler) for the greener pastures of Mom + Pop, and released Champ back in May.

Sometimes relegated to the backseat in Elephant, the synthesizer opens Champ's first track and stars in "Bambi" (along with the electric claps reminiscent of that featured on "Tessellate"), "Gone," and "Not Sick."  There's no group yelling on Champ, which is a shame since it makes "Your English is Good" Elephant's best track.

"Less big words and more exclamation marks!" Dave Monks screams out in "Big Difference."  That seems to be the sonic motto for the album, sort of a rock-now-think-later policy, but it isn't the lyrical motto.  Monks captures the feeling of getting to know someone in whom you're interested in "Favourite Colour" (the Queen's English!), possibly being left by said person in "Gone," and doomed relationships in "Not Sick" ("Not sensible, I wanna marry a dancer; / Vegetarian, can't stand to be wrong.").  The fast-paced nature of [touring] life seems to be the focus in "Breakneck Speed":

Grade: A-
Blurb: While a little part of me misses the Strokes-ish sound, TPC has moved onward and upward on Champ.

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