Review Summary: Tokyo Police Club rock out.
It's so strange hearing Tokyo Police Club being called or even associated with the term indie. Granted, there's nothing wrong with it per se - it still does mean independent, you know; it's just that the scene has become something completely detached from what it was meant to be. You've got bands hopping up and down for world tendencies; you've got others who can't wait to have you dancing to experimental music. But that's not what Tokyo Police Club is about by any means. Their first releases seemed uncomfortable with being indie records, but they never really pushed out of the genre, content with being in between the realms of catchy alternative rock and post-punk. Champ's not going to break the tradition, and you'll be glad for it.
Perhaps one of the most interesting things about Champ is the fact that it shows Tokyo Police Club fulfilling all the potential they had on other works. They have undoubtedly matured from the immature brevity of A Lesson In Crime, and they've refined everything that was Elephant Shell while still managing to trudge through half-painful childhood memories. Champ is also reflected in David Monks' past, told in a half-sardonic, half-blasé manner. It's a trait that shines through on tracks like "Favourite Food" which are, in terms of melody, cynical and melancholic, but propelled to upbeat heights courtesy of a far less lax rhythm section. "Breakneck Speed" is a similar case, relying on relaxing nonchalance. But just as you're being comforted by involving guitars, post-punk drums, and Monks' very Canadian yelp, you're suddenly uplifted by "doo-oohs" and high-pitched, kitschy riffs.
Don't take it as a minor vs. major chord tug of war match though, because Champ
is hardly melancholic. It's not suffocating under the weight of maudlin self-importance; it actually takes a "there's a light at the end of the tunnel" approach for the most part. On "Big Difference," you realize that though Monk realizes the problems with bourgeois relationships, he's got hope for himself yet. His music voices it, too. Don't forget that Tokyo Police Club's enjoyable indie rock flair is both calm and radio-friendly. It's optimistic enough for the summer (because we all know it's that time of the year for catchy rock tunes), still, it's also worth a few listens on your headphones. But why would you ever want headphones when Champ is so full of anthemic choruses and alternative-tinged riffs? Songs like "Favourite Color" personify the charm and rock appeal to the band, while others show them loosening things up a bit and willing to go back to basics. Tokyo Police Club then combines all these elements into a very brief yet fulfilling package, thus making the band's sophomore album one of the more fun rock-based releases of the year.