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.