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Tokyo Police Club - Elephant Shell (Cover Artwork)

Tokyo Police Club

Tokyo Police Club: Elephant ShellElephant Shell (2008)
Saddle Creek Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5


Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Given the room of a full-length recording, Tokyo Police Club still manage to write both economical and friendly indie pop/rock jams. In the space of two to three minutes apiece, TPC are hardly harmful, but it's not like they provide straight Indie 101.3 templates on Elephant Shell. Those radio-fr.
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Given the room of a full-length recording, Tokyo Police Club still manage to write both economical and friendly indie pop/rock jams. In the space of two to three minutes apiece, TPC are hardly harmful, but it's not like they provide straight Indie 101.3 templates on Elephant Shell.

Those radio-friendly vibes are certainly there; with the first lines of opener "Centennial," vocalist/bassist Dave Monks sings in a quaint voice that's immediately reminiscent of a more lively Ben Gibbard -- a parallel that critics haven't hesitated to drawn. But Tokyo Police Club aren't really subscribing to that same sort of brooding, narrative atmosphere; there isn't really enough time. Skittering drums and riffs bouncing between staccato strikes and quick overlaps for pneumatic spheres are methodical, and each collision ends seemingly before it even began. Besides, Monks' Gibbard-y clone-esque moment isn't really repeated through the rest of the record, anyway.

For every batch of quickly fired shots come a standout moment on Elephant Shell -- that aforementioned opener "Centennial," at the album's shortest and featuring its practical motto ("Running out of space, so let me sum this up for you"), for one. There's also the dynamic "Tessellate," where a steady drum thwack intersperses with group handclaps and arthritis-inducing piano key taps. "Nursery, Academy" becomes as sporadically lush as you can expect the band to get, yet digs in a hook deep enough to make it all work, while "Your English Is Good" rounds up would-be politicians to good-naturedly shout "Oh, give us your vote! If you know what's good for you!"

Even as it tends to sound somewhat typical, Elephant Shell certainly doesn't operate like a typical indie rock album, or a typical Saddle Creek release for that matter. But chalk it up to the kids of Tokyo Police Club, who often desire nothing less than the space of three minutes to convey their bizarrely fun thoughts and feelings wrapped in a shell that occasionally glimmers and otherwise gyrates.

In a Cave
Juno

STREAM
Graves
Tessellate
Your English Is Good

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
GlassPipeMurder (January 20, 2009)

holy shit it took me so long for this to click.

amazing album.

Johnny_J (July 29, 2008)

Usually Saddle Creek puts out a lot of good or even great records, but this is really overrated.

youwinalemon (July 25, 2008)

There's something oddly comforting about this album to me. I was pretty disappointed on initial listens, as the album seemed overly bland. Yet I always seem to find myself reaching for it whenever I don't want to listen to anything in particular.

So yeah, a solid, pleasant seven.

brown (July 25, 2008)

I was sort of disappointed by this, but at the same time not. Its a natural progression for the band as they grow up, but I really do miss the moments of absolute.. well musical chaos that ran rampant through their EP. I mean, there's nothing on this album that tops the absolute frantic nature of the opener of "Cheer It On". Even though the song lengths are the same, it's like the songs are slowed down, or they seem unfinished.

That being said, this album is still really good, it's just not what I was expecting/hoping for with this band.

TheMike (July 25, 2008)

It's ok.

ddb43 (July 25, 2008)

Meh. Not so good.

glasspipemurder (July 25, 2008)

not bad for hipster mod-punk

Mrdogg45 (July 25, 2008)

Tokyo Police Club is the mayor of Overhyped Town (tucked safely between Stenchberg and Buzzville).

This band is the most overrated of all the blog-propelled bands to be breathed into life via the internet.

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