Tokyo Police Club: Champ

B+

Tokyo Police Club

Album: Champ
Label: Mom & Pop
B+

Tokyo Police Club

Album: Champ
Label: Mom & Pop

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Tokyo Police Club introduced itself to the world with an EP, A Lesson In Crime, so spunky, energetic, and youthful—not to mention short—that the more contemplative songs on the Canadian band’s debut full-length, Elephant Shell, felt almost too mature on first contact. On Champ, album No. 2, these boys—average age 22—sound a little more comfortable and confident, but also more willing to mix up the mid-tempo snarl-pop with that old energy. The push-and-pull between the desire to charge ahead and to create something deeper—presuming the latter is what they’re after—makes Champ a compelling, joyous listen, especially once it’s had a few spins to sink in. It’s funny that nostalgia rules the lyrics, considering the band’s age, but “Breakneck Speed”—which fondly recalls a childhood not that long past—does it perfectly, and sounds charmingly like Built To Spill at moments. “Bambi,” another fond remembrance, chugs along on the most infectious keyboard line imaginable, a goofy new-wave lark that buoys the whole enterprise. Singer Dave Monks is also great with sing-along one-liners like “Less big words and more exclamation marks!”, which recall Superchunk. Elsewhere, “End Of A Spark” and sorta-ballad “Hands Reversed” nod to more classic sounds, and the “m” word (maturity) rears its head again. This time around, though, it suits Tokyo Police Club a little more snugly.

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