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Tokyo Police Club - Champ Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.25
Musicianship 8
Lyrics 7.5
Production 8
Creativity 8
Lasting Value 6
Reviewer Tilt 6.5
Final Verdict: 75%
Member Ratings
Vocals 9.35
Musicianship 9.2
Lyrics 8.85
Production 9.1
Creativity 8.03
Lasting Value 8.7
Reviewer Tilt 9.05
Average: 89%
Inside AP.net

Tokyo Police Club - Champ

Reviewed by: Thomas Nassiff (08/10/10)
Tokyo Police Club - Champ
Release Date: June 8, 2010
Record Label: Mom + Pop Music


Quite a while ago, when I first heard Tokyo Police Club, I regarded them among the same group as fellow indie acts Vampire Weekend and Phoenix. They were playing on late night television shows and appeared to delight the general public, who at the time had a bit of an obsession with talented and charming indie rock groups. The general public still swoon over these indie acts, who often parade around a couple of singles that are gobbled up by the media. The rest of their music, while usually worthwhile, never gets proper attention or criticism. The best examples I can think of to back up my points are Vampire Weekend's self-titled record and Phoenix's latest release. Both groups became media darlings at the time of these releases but in my opinion, those records as a whole never held their own ground. Tokyo Police Club were media butterflies in their own right when their A Lesson in Crime EP and debut full length Elephant Shell received much critical acclaim. Behind singles like "Your English is Good" and "Tessellate", Tokyo Police Club were running the late-night television circuit and receiving attention left and right. However, at the time, the band's back catalog contained strong numbers such as the hook-centric "Nature of the Experiment" and the driving "Cut Cut Paste".

With their sophomore full length record, Champ, Tokyo Police Club have fallen into a rut where a few songs shine while many others fall flat. Champ has perhaps four truly worthwhile songs, of which only three I would go out of my way to listen to again. While I can recognize the creativity and talent of the Canadian four-piece, this album fails to meet expectations and capitalize on through-the-roof potential. A lot of Champ is relatively boring compared to the charm of Tokyo Police Club's earlier work, and while some might claim that this is a band maturing their sound, others (like me) might claim that growing up isn't always growing better.

Champ
starts off with two of my recommended takes from this record, the sister tracks "Favourite Food" and "Favourite Color". Aside from spelling "favourite" with a U, which I love, the opener has quickly become one of my favorite songs from this group. Dave Monks' vocals are smooth and his lyrics clever and warm. As the track progresses and speeds up, Tokyo Police Club flex their instrumental muscles at the end with an enthralling outro. "Favourite Color" is a bit more aggressive, but Monks again carries the song, accompanied by strong performances by guitarist Josh Hook and drummer Greg Alsop. The first track, being four minutes long, shows a different Tokyo Police Club than the band who released the 18-minute A Lesson in Crime EP, while the latter track is the type of uptempo two-and-a-half minute foot-tapper that fans have grown to love.

Unfortunately, most of the album does not follow suit. While third track "Breakneck Speed" is a worthwhile listen, it mostly serves as a decent transition into first single "Wait Up (Boots of Danger)". This is probably the best track on the record, and will enliven loyal fans as well as generate attention from the masses, as Tokyo Police Club demonstrated on The Late Show With David Letterman in late June, their most recent television appearance. "Bambi", along with "Big Difference" and "Not Sick", a set of back-to-back tracks each under three minutes, are songs that fall just short. They have their moments but overall are forgettable and don't add much to Champ. Of these, "Big Difference" is probably the best and the experimental "Gone" holds itself up as a fun listen.

I previously regarded Tokyo Police Club as one of the most creative bands in the scene, and while Champ shows much more creativity than a lot of bands these days, it leaves a lot to be desired. Perhaps I was expecting the wrong thing; I wasn't exactly anticipating this release so I can't say it actually disappoints me, but the first time I spun Champ, I was really rooting for 2010 to give me another surprise contender for my top twenty five list. Perhaps Tokyo Police Club are searching for their niche and trying to find exactly where they want to head with their sound. Champ as a whole isn't the most coherent album I've ever heard, and a maturing sound isn't the easiest thing to develop and capture on a record. Either way, Tokyo Police Club have at least shown with a couple of standout tracks that they are still worth some attention, and I wouldn't drop the ball just yet on this band.

Recommended If You LikeThe Strokes, Vampire Weekend?
Download These First"Wait Up (Boots of Danger)", "Favourite Food", "Favourite Color"
Bare Essentials1. Favourite Food
2. Favourite Color
3. Breakneck Speed
4. Wait Up (Boots of Danger)
5. Bambi
6. End of A Spark
7. Hands Reversed
8. Gone
9. Big Difference
10. Not Sick
11. Frankenstein
Run Time: 36 minutes
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Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 93.
11:40 PM on 08/10/10
#2
Thomas Nassiff
resuscitation of the year
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I might start including a star rating with my reviews. If we worked on a star scale, this would be like a two and a half star album, out of five stars.
12:22 AM on 08/11/10
#3
coachcake
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I'm glad star ratings aren't implemented then, as it would turn most readers away (probably including me), without really tempting them to give the record a shot. I personally love this record and believe pretty much everyone could (and should) like at least a few songs on this album.

I think this is a solid review and am seeing this overall sentiment echoed across the interwebs. I personally absolutely love this album and don't think there is a bad song on it. "Bambi" and "Gone" don't jive with me, but I don't even really feel like it would be worth expelling the energy to skip the track. Good review.
12:50 AM on 08/11/10
#4
Drew Beringer
Senior Editor | @drewberinger | Locked Groove
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hmm, low rating, but oh well, I love this album.
01:02 AM on 08/11/10
#5
Thomas Nassiff
resuscitation of the year
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hmm, low rating, but oh well, I love this album.
Don't do that! The score is hard to do here. I mean, his voice is great and they're obviously creative and talented....I just think the album is kinda boring and lacks the intangibles. It didn't capture me whatsoever and it's just not up there with some of the other stuff this year. A few years ago I might have given this a score in the high 80s.
01:15 AM on 08/11/10
#6
twokidtech
Lord, I'm Discouraged
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I love this album too but I haven't even listened to their earlier work... Jesus I have to get on that.
01:35 AM on 08/11/10
#7
drevans18
BLERG
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Interesting. I love this album, and I loved Elephant Shell. Bambi is actually one of my favorite tracks off the CD too. Great review nonetheless (as always), and I think my score would have been mid-80's.
01:43 AM on 08/11/10
#8
RickRoll
Mike Richards Mancrush Club
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This is one of the only negative reviews(well, somewhat negative) of this record I've read.

I'm surprised to hear that someone who is a fan of their earlier work isn't a fan of this. It's a really natural progression for them and has some really fantastic songwriting on it, the "Favourites", as you mention, but also "Hands Reversed" and "Frankenstein" both flex muscles the band never has previously, and I think with successful results.

Josh Hook's work also really stands out on this record, he's really maturing as a guitarist.
04:25 AM on 08/11/10
#9
So-Crates
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Don't do that! The score is hard to do here. I mean, his voice is great and they're obviously creative and talented....I just think the album is kinda boring and lacks the intangibles. It didn't capture me whatsoever and it's just not up there with some of the other stuff this year. A few years ago I might have given this a score in the high 80s.
I agree so much with your reveiw, I really only find myself going back to those three tracks you mentioned as 'download first', I find mtself going back to Steel Train's new album alot more than this.
04:33 AM on 08/11/10
FatJordan
Fat is Fashionable
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These guys are slowly becoming my new favorite band. The new album is great, suprised no one has mentioned "End of a Spark" as a must download track. It's not the BEST track, but it's great.
04:43 AM on 08/11/10
Broclee
Dude, this is so Inception.
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Hmm. Good review, I just disagree. Which I guess is what it's all about.
05:42 AM on 08/11/10
the seventeenth
when I think I am, I'm not
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I would have rated it a few points higher, but good review regardless of it's rating.
05:51 AM on 08/11/10
luvsickcatalyst
wander eyes, ocean high.
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These guys are slowly becoming my new favorite band. The new album is great, suprised no one has mentioned "End of a Spark" as a must download track. It's not the BEST track, but it's great.
That's been the song of my summer. I'm leaving for college in two weeks and it feels like the perfect song at the right time.

I will agree in that this record sounds like the band deliberately slowed their songs down just so they wouldn't get pegged as "the band who makes 2 minute songs" and that this record can get boring at times. But I find myself liking about 3/4ths of the record now after a couple more listens. It's that kind of record that gets better with time, although it will never have the same energy and fun as their first record.
05:55 AM on 08/11/10
jnkbondtrader
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i enjoy this one more than elephant shell, i feel like they've gotten a lot better at writing great pop songs, which is a good move in my opinion for a band like this. but good review nonetheless.
06:28 AM on 08/11/10
arson
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Great review, sums up exactly how I felt. I had huge expectations because I absolutely loved Elephant Shell but this record just kind of falls flat.
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