A winning do-over
The blog-bait now known as Tokyo Police Club used to be called Suburbia, a more honest (if inelegant) reflection of their ingenuous post-punk/emo blend. The band’s 2006 breakout EP, A Lesson in Crime, distilled twitchy synths and guitars into two-minute blasts of hormones and naiveté, but on 2008 LP Elephant Shell, they handcuffed themselves by aiming for the kind of layered, measured album favored by their new label, Saddle Creek—a wannabe grownup album from a group that thrived on juvenilia. Their sophomore LP, the optimistically titled Champ, opens promisingly with the lean, mean “Favorite Food,” on which blown-out fuzz and shrilling organs snowball into an incandescent rock jitter, as Dave Monks’ warm, approachable voice spins out a self-conscious suburban fantasy of bandaged knees and melting sugar. He sounds a bit like Dan Bejar’s little brother, especially over the theatrical start-stop riffs of “Favorite Color.” “It’s good to be back,” Monks sighs on “Breakneck Speed,” as Tokyo Police Club get back to doing their favorite thing: Playing their hearts out, two or three minutes at a time.