Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tokyo Police Club - Elephant Shell

Five Hundred Four Words: Every once in a while, a band comes along that makes you believe they have the innovation and energy to make many, many good, if not, great records. I remember thinking this about Modest Mouse. They captivated small clubs with raucous performances, recorded albums that never left your regular rotation, and they were young, suggesting that they could do this for a while. There was a tangible buzz around bands like MM, Sleater-Kinney, or The Walkmen. Of course, I thought the same thing about The Sun or Franz Ferdinand.

Right now, Tokyo Police Club is that band for me. Ever since picking up their debut EP A Lesson in Crime, I have been hooked on the band's ultra-quick, bass-driven, synth-backed indie romp. Their show at Mojo's last year did nothing to change my mind as they played a blistering 20-minute set that made forget TV on the Radio was playing elsewhere that night. And when I heard they had signed with Saddle Creek, I knew this was a band with which to be reckoned.

I always have high hopes for new releases and my anticipation for Elephant Shell was very high. I had heard some of the tracks leaked on the blogs and knew that they contained the same immediacy and energy of the early EP's and singles. On my first listen this morning, the album does not disappoint.

Like previous TPC releases, it's quick. The band's eleven songs clock in around 28 minutes total. The frenetic pace isn't limited to the tracks' lengths, the band just plays fast. Although this quickness dominates Elephant Shell, the thing that sets TCP apart from most young, indie/punk bands is their ability to leave small bits of space in their songs. It's just the kind of time one needs to shake his ass to the left and step to the right while bobbing his head up and down to the beat.

Dancibility isn't the only thing that distinguishes TPC on Saddle Creek's roster. While the majority of their bands lives in Omaha or moves there or acts like they live there, TPC is decidedly a step outside of the label's typical signee. This is like when Sub Pop signed Sebadoh, The Afghan Whigs, or The Grifters. These bands were both stylistically and geographically unique to the label that had previously concentrated on Pacific Northwest bands that fit neatly under the label "grunge". TPC's signing could be the beginning of Saddle Creek's ascension to the same heights as labels like Merge, Secretly Canadian/Jagjaguwar, or Matador.

The future looks bright for Tokyo Police Club. Look for their quick version of indie rock to take hold of the scene and spawn multiple copycats. Elephant Shell, although somewhat raw and naive, could propel the band, its label, and even its aesthetic to magazine covers and spots on MTV. I predict they will have a significant impact on the scene for years to come. Bookmark this post and call me on it five years from now. I'm not worried.

The one song that makes it worth $17.95: "Tessellate"

Pitchfork Says: ??? (I may have to drop this feature from my reviews if Pitchfork doesn't get with it and start rating albums before they come out.)

No comments: