Tokyo Police Club “Elephant Shell”

‘Elephant Shell,’ Tokyo Police Club’s first full-length studio album, sees the Canadian quartet attempting to build on the critical acclaim which met 2007’s ‘A Lesson in Crime’ EP, a record which dazzled its (relatively few) listeners with its blisteringly short bursts of guitar pop. It is clear from the outset of the record that TPC have no intention of changing their winning less-is-more formula, with opening track ‘Centennial’ being a perfect exhibition of their let’s-try-and-cram-this-song-into-two-minutes style. To say that the group aren’t ones to leave any unnecessary fat on a song would be an understatement – solid current single ‘Tessellate’ is another example of their ability to throw the listener head first into a song and pull them out of it just as quickly. Time spent touring with Bloc Party shows through on tracks such as ‘Nursery, Academy’ and the excellent ‘Graves’ – all choppy guitars and metronomic drum beats. Elsewhere – the laid back strings and bells of ‘The Harrowing Adventures Of…’ and the slightly dubbed out ‘Listen to the Math’ hint that there may be a little more depth to the band than they normally let on. I would defy anyone to hear the irreverent pop brilliance of ‘Your English Is Good’ without feeling uplifted. At times TPC’s brevity might leave the listener hungry for more, but generally, ‘Elephant Shell’ is a thoroughly enjoyable lesson in the kind of post-Strokes guitar music well charted this decade. Their sound might not exactly be bringing anything new to the fray, but when it’s executed with such skilful nonchalance, who cares?


Joe Hendry


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