Tokyo Police Club – Elephant Shell

Canadian wunderkind quartet Tokyo Police Club took the music world by storm with 7 songs and 16 minutes of indie pop rock fury in 2006 with debut EP A Lesson In Crime. They aim to top that success with the soon-to-be-released full length Elephant Shell. The band’s debut full length CD is full of the same quick and catchy hooks, lively riffs and dynamic beats, this time in 11 songs and 28 minutes. From minute one to minute twenty-eight, Tokyo Police Club displays their great pop sensibilities with well-crafted, energetic songs that presents a damn good case for their musicianship.

Elephant Shell begins dynamically with “Centennial,” the shortest track on the disc (1:54), yet one of the liveliest and best example of these Candians’ songwriting talents. “In A Cave” follows at 2:49 minutes, featuring hooky as hell guitar riffs (showing how aptly surnamed guitar Josh Hook is) over a driving beat to form a song that’s catchy as shit and dares you to sit still while listening. Harmonic keys and a transition from low to lively riffs characterizes the two-and-a-half minute “Graves.”

Track 4, “Juno,” begins with Greg Alsop playing big, driving drums and twinkling keys by Graham Wright as the song really displays well the vocal range of lead singer David Monks, whom also plays bass. Harmonic keys play well with the driving beat of “Tessellate,” as Monks sings, “Dire times call for dire faces.” Tessellate, a mathematical term regarding patterns, is an apt title, as “Tessellate” plays as a beautiful harmonic pattern that is pleasing to the ear.

The barely two-minute long “Sixties Remake” makes seamless transitions between distorted and silky guitar riffs, accompanied by Wright’s harmonic keys. “The Harrowing Adventures Of…” opens with twinkling keys and handclapping. It’s a heavier tune than the others, and less poppy than the rest, but acts as a breather in the middle of a hyper album.

The hyperactivity kicks back into action as previous digital single “Your English Is Good” follows the tight and harmonic “Nursery, Academy.” The longest song on the record, clocking in at a mere 3:12, “Your English Is Good” features wildly aggressive beats and keys and the entire band shouting “Your English is good!” and “You don’t need to change / The future is ours!” in a wall of sound dance anthem you’re forced to move around to.

“Listen To The Math” begins softly with just Wright on the keyboard and Monks’ vocals shining through, but an almost syncopated beat kicks up along with lots of cymbal crashes. Lyrically, “Listen To The Math” is biting as Monks sings, “If I am the joke / You are the punchline.” Elephant Shell ends with “The Baskervilles,” a tune rife with jerky riffs that pick up into a lively beat. Monks sings in a strained voice over riffs that sweeten out from their jerky beginning in a song that ends abruptly, leaving the listener wanting more.

Elephant Shell is a sunny record that is tight, cohesive, driving, dynamic and leaves you wanting more. Tokyo Police Club should be proud of themselves. Catch the guys on tour promoting the new album. If the live show is half as energetic as the album, you’re in for a good fucking time. Don’t forget to look for Elephant Shell out on the one and only Saddle Creek Records on April 22, 2008 in the US and 8 May overseas.North American Tour Dates:
Apr 18 – Barrymore’s Music Hall/Ottawa, Ontario
Apr 19 – Cabaret du Musee Juste Pour Rire/Montreal, Quebec
Apr 20 – Bowery Ballroom (SOLD OUT) /New York, New York
Apr 21 – Music Hall of Williamsburg (SOLD OUT)/Brooklyn, New York
Apr 22 – Virgin Records (Union Square)/New York, New York
Apr 22 – Bowery Ballroom (SOLD OUT)/New York, New York
Apr 23 – Sound Fix/Brooklyn, New York
Apr 24 – Paradise Rock Club/Boston, Massachusetts
Apr 26 – Pearl Street Night Club/Northampton, Massachusetts
Apr 28 – First Unitarian Church/Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Apr 29 – Black Cat/Washington, DC, Washington DC
Apr 30 – Big Orbit’s Soundlab/Buffalo, New York
May 02 – Opera House (SOLD OUT)/Toronto, Ontario
May 03 – Opera House/Toronto, Ontario
May 04 – Magic Stick/Detroit, Michigan
May 05 – Metro/Chicago, Illinois
May 06 – Varsity Theatre/Minneapolis, Minnesota
May 08 – Garrick’s Theatre/Winnipeg, Manitoba
May 09 – Louis’ Pub/Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
May 10/11 – The Warehouse/Calgary, Alberta
May 12 – The Starlite Room/Edmonton, Alberta
May 14 – The Habitat (SOLD OUT)/Kelowna, British Columbia
May 16 – Plaza Club/Vancouver, British Columbia
May 17 – Sugar Nightclub/Victoria, British Columbia
May 18 – Neumos/Seattle, Washington
May 19 – Hawthorne Theatre/Portland, Oregon
May 22 – Bluebird Theatre/Denver, Colorado
May 23 – Slowdown/Omaha, Nebraska

European Tour Dates:
29 May – Barfly/Cambridge
30 May – Bodega/Nottingham
31 May – Cockpit/Leeds
01 Jun – Night & Day/Manchester
03 Jun – Barfly/Birmingham
05 Jun – Le Bontanique/Brussels
06 Jun – Rock Am Ring/Nurburgring
07 Jun – Rock Im Park/Zeppelinfeld
08 Jun – La Maroquinerie/Paris
10 Jun – King Tuts/Glasglow
11 Jun – Other Rooms/Newcastle
12 Jun – Academy/Oxford
13 Jun – Marquee/Hertford
16 Jun – Digital/Brighton
17 Jun – Thekla/Bristol
18 Jun – Scala/London

I’ll be at the Philly show on April 28th, so look out for a show review and photos to come!

Tokyo Police Club: website | myspace
Saddle Creek: website | myspace


5 Responses

  1. “these New Yorkers’ songwriting talents.”

    They’re from Ontario.

  2. Why yes, I am an idiot. Thanks for pointing that out.
    It’s been fixed.


  3. […] review 3. Quitzow – Art College review 4. Estelle – Shine 5. Tokyo Police Club – Elephant Shell review *Most Anticipated: 1. Beck – Modern Guilt 2. Black Kids – Partie Traumatic review *Best Show: The […]

  4. […] MTV’s “F’N MTV” Friday, July 25, performing “Graves” from its acclaimed debut full-length album Elephant […]

  5. […] Tokyo Police Club: website | myspace | live review | Elephant Shell review […]

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