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Tokyo Police Club, “Elephant Shell” (Saddle Creek) [3 STARS]

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Formed in Newmarket, Ontario, these twenty-something indie-rockers garnered major buzz in 2006 with their debut EP “A Lesson in Crime,” which whizzed by in an exuberant rush of 8 songs in 18 minutes. Anticipation has been high for a proper album ever since, though now that it’s here, it’s no easier than before to pinpoint why it’s so endearing. Yes, there are the rollicking rhythms, nicely decorated by the conversational interplay of keyboard and guitar, though none of those sounds are new or unique. And while there are elements of pop-punk, garage-rock, power-pop and New Wave of New Wave, Tokyo Police Club doesn’t fit neatly into any of those genres.

Singer and bassist Dave Monks and his mates do share some traits with indie-rock heroes of the moment such as the Decemberists and Vampire Weekend: There are those high, reedy vocals and the college English major approach to lyric-writing. “Dead lovers salivate/Broken hearts tessellate tonight,” Monks sings in “Tessellate,” a word I’m not ashamed to say I had to look up; Merriam-Webster says it means “to form into or adorn with mosaic.” But the pretensions of Tokyo Police Club are never off-putting (as the Decemberists are to some) or smug (as Vampire Weekend definitely it is), and in the end, its sheer glee and energetic devotion to big, brassy melodies carry the day.

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This page contains a single entry by Jim DeRogatis published on April 15, 2008 4:25 PM.

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