Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Review: Tokyo Police Club, Champ

Tokyo Police Club
7 stoplight dance sessions out of 10 stoplight dance sessions

Tokyo Police Club has long been a go-to band for my mix CD addiction, which reached its peak during the years of high school that I had my own car and was forced to listen to the insufferable local radio if I wasn’t proactive about it. Historically, their music has made me want to dance. And yeah, maybe sing a long a little bit too. Loudly. So what I’m saying here is that I used to look like an insane person freaking out to this band in my car.

That part of me is a little bummed that their latest release, Champ, has a more toned down sound. The other part – the part that appreciates when bands evolve for the better – is actually pretty excited. Where the percussion usually drove their tracks before, the band now relies more on guitar and vocals. You can actually hear and understand singer/bassist Dave Monks on this album. And did you know there’s a keyboardist in this band? Yeah, I didn’t either. But you can now hear him as well, especially on tracks like “Bambi.” Check out the synth, too. It’s crazy.

Lyrically, Champ is an incredibly introspective album – likely the result of the two years it took Tokyo Police Club to write and produce it. Where once their songs focused almost exclusively on dating and “kid stuff” (come on, they were young!), they have now expanded to cover topics like growing old, leaving home, dealing with changing relationships, and the fear of missing out on life. Take the track “End of a Spark,” for example – when he put you to bed, / your great-grandfather always said / “Wasting is an art.” / Well, it’s a good thing I was young then. Guys, you're still young - but I appreciate your point anyway.

This isn’t the rag-tag group of guys in their early 20s that made a splash on the blog scene almost five years ago. Meet the older, more thoughtful Tokyo Police Club. I might not be able to thrash around in my car while singing along with Champ, but I’ll definitely keep listening.

-- Emily Simpson

No comments: