Review Summary: Plucky Canadian Indie rockers Manage to successfully combine a loud rock dynamic with infectious pop hooks and melodies. A promising first effort from a band with much more to offer.3 of 3 thought this review was well written
Whist I still find the time to be screamed at by angry Metal creatures or insulted by the latest Hip Hop sensation every once in a while, I’m getting old and my body can only handle so much of this abrasive testosterone fuelled aggression. It seems, then, that my solution is to mellow out, emigrate to Canada, perhaps learn the violin or start a small collection of glockenspiels. But, whilst all these things would be lovely, there is undoubtedly something missing from the mix and finding the right balance is an important thing. Now, whilst I could easily invite the angry metal creature to Canada with me, it’s probably not his/hers/it’s scene and wouldn’t it be just great if I could find bands that are loud and direct but with a composed and sophisticated edge? This is why Indie-Rock is my favourite genre and Tokyo Police Club are a band who do it bloody well.
You see, I mentioned this word ‘balance’ earlier and this is a skill much more precise and difficult than it might at first appear. Whilst right from the outset ‘Cheer It On’ begins with a deafening combination of bass drum and cymbal, this is soon accompanied by quirky guitar melodies and a calm and collected vocal delivery. Even as one of the EP’s loudest tracks, it’s always kept firmly in its place by an almost mechanical rhythm section. It’s this simple combination of bass and drums which allows the guitar to meander in and out of the music, never straying from it’s destination, but adding the necessary flair which makes the band interesting to listen to. Tokyo Police Club don’t do anything out of the ordinary, there are no gimmicks or real surprises, but everything just seems to work.
The influences of Canadian peers such as Broken Social Scene
are apparent throughout, with cute handclaps and occasional female backing vocals, but these elements aren’t allowed to take the limelight and are carefully strung together with a glorious pop sensibility. Crafting simple yet deliciously infectious songs is what Tokyo Police Club do well, it’s only when attempting to create something more complex that they seem to falter. Not that they really attempt anything complex, but on both the concluding track ‘La Ferassie’ and ‘Citizens of Tomorrow’ there appears to be the making of a patient build up which is then suddenly scrapped and the band hit climax, as if they got bored with operating in anything less than top gear. This is kind of endearing, for now, but as the band readies themselves for the release of their first full length album, there will be a need for something different, a change of pace or at least some variation from the 7 tracks on display here.
Even despite the apparent lack of diversity A Lesson in Crime
is an consistently impressive first effort. Although they have a way to go if they are to grasp their stunning potential, each song here is memorable and instantly accessible. I might be an ageing music lover, but it’s this kind of fresh hope which makes me feel young and giddy all over again.
*I’m not actually very old, just a miserable nineteen year old.