Album review: Tokyo Police Club – ‘Champ’ (Memphis Industries)

Followup to an underwhelming debut album finds these former blog heroes revisiting their childhood

Are you as fed up as the rest of us of hearing bands say they are releasing a more “grown-up” second album? All too often, they’re just trying to dress up what is really little more than a yawnsome borefest. But this Canadian four-piece aren’t reverting to worn clichés of maturity for their second effort. Instead, they’re journeying back to childhood just for their own sweet kicks. After a hugely disappointing debut (‘Elephant Shell’), which failed to keep the embers alight after the initial spark of their early EPs, this is a rompingly reactionary record; bouncing with frenzied guitar riffs, sweet synths, pitter-patter drum beats and saucer-eyed optimism. For starters, [b]‘Favourite Food’[/b] – a track about a dying man yearning for
a return to his youth – is better than their entire debut album. And try not getting your eyes wet with lyrics such as “[i]With a heart-attack on your plane/You were looking back on your days/how you spend them all in a blur[/i]”. The track acts as a stepping stone back to familiar teenage hangouts, and what follows is an album packed with childhood imagery. For instance, [b]‘Favourite Colour’[/b] is a teenage lovesong with spiky guitar stabs that sound like a pre-pubescent heartbeat. And [b]‘End Of A Spark’[/b] is excitable radio-friendly indie with a huge chorus made for school proms. This is essentially the album they should have made as their debut, when perhaps the pressure of being called the Canadian Strokes proved too much of a creative fire blanket. Or maybe they rediscovered their youthful flair while appearing alongside the old codgers in [i]Desperate Housewives[/i]: they really were in it, check it on YouTube, although strangely they’re called ColdSplash. Either way, back with less pressure, [b]‘Champ’[/b] packs that sweet sucker-punch we craved the first time around. It’s on the [b]‘Flux’[/b]-era [a]Bloc Party[/a] sounding moments, though, where things really start to get interesting. More of the likes of the delectably dancey [b]‘Bambi’[/b] and those TV execs will be chapping at their door with more cameo roles. Hopefully the producers of Glee. Y’know, something exuberant that will continue to inspire their inner child; ’cos it certainly appears to be working well for them.

[b]Jamie Crossan[/b]

[i]What do you think of the album? Let us know by posting a comment below.[/i]

Click here to get your copy of Tokyo Police Club’s ‘Champ’ from the Rough Trade shop.


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