Posts Tagged ‘Newmarket’

Tokyo Police Club by Mimi Raver

Tokyo Police Club are back and keeping it simple with their fifth studio album TPC through Dine Alone Records. They’ve captured the sound that saved them within the walls of a church and by the hands of producer Rob Schnapf. These are hymns for the young at heart. The single, Simple Dude, vocalist David Monks sings about sensations and simple pleasures as if they are new discoveries, “my skin to your skin, I can feel it coming.” In Can’t Stay Here he asserts “ I don’t know how to grow up/I don’t know how to stay young/ I just know that I can’t stay here” over Josh Hook’s rousing guitar and Greg Alsop’s free-spirited drums. It’s the perfect song for leaving home, a relationship, or your twenties while Ready to Win is a genius ode to failure, which is a lifelong experience, and just as important as success.

TPC is proof that an album can be casual but not careless. There is value in simplicity, and some of the best art isn’t complicated. TPC has a fast tempo swagger, anxious but proud. This an album you can bounce to while you find your way through too many beers and one night stands. These fast times may be fleeting, but they’re worth it.

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Band Members
David Monks, Greg Alsop, Graham Wright, Josh Hook

Released May 15th, 2020

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“Champ” is the second full length album from Toronto’s Tokyo Police Club, and as its name suggests, it’s a triumph – an album of taut catchy anthems that display a renewed vigour and fizz and from the young four piece.

Tokyo Police Club first hit their stride back in 2006 when, straight out of high school, their hyperactive mini-album A Lesson in Crime came from nowhere to prove one of the year’s most refreshing releases combining as it did the youthful immediacy of The Strokes first LP and the off kilter discord of Pavement.

The surprise success of A Lesson in Crime led to relentless touring through the entirety 2007, during which time they attempted and failed several times to write and record a full length album. Eventually the band, by now exhausted and burned to the extent that they were falling asleep on stage, took a month off to record. The resulting album Elephant Shell was a slower, sweeter more introspective affair, a surprise for fans of A Lesson in Crime but one that displayed a new found lyricism from frontman-bassist and songwriter Dave Monks.

Tokyo Police Club gave themselves time to recharge, to summon an Olympian spirit for a batch of new songs that burst with a new brightness. Says front-man bassist: “It has 11 songs, a Disney character, fuzzy bits, Canadian spelling, hockey sound effects, me singing the lowest note in my range, and one saxophone note”.

The band decamped from their native Canada to record the album in Los Angeles. “I think we’ve always wanted to make a summer record, something a little more breezy and less hampered down by extremely quick, tight, short songs, and the tracks on this record gave us an opportunity to explore that a little more,” says drummer Greg Alsop. “When it came time to go into the studio, the Canadian climate had turned against us and so we had to travel south to capture the vibe and feel that worked best with these songs.” Stand out songs include the electronic pop of Bambi, the curiously titled duo Favourite Foods and Favourite Colour and the urgently anthemic Wait Up (Boots of Danger). Again Dave Monk’s lyrics are a real highlight with strikingly juxtaposed imagery – “the killer with the coloured kite”, “the national child star in a coat and a scarf, alone in the laundromat”.

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In the four years since the Tokyo Police Club’s last album, our brave heroes from Toronto spent several long winters and many manic nights. “We struggled with finding our spot as a band and owning what we were,” says lead singer/bass player and principle songwriter Dave Monks. “Everyone expected us to come out with another record like (2010’s) Champ, but we didn’t feel comfortable going on the same road we were on. We wanted to go somewhere else; an upward move, so we starting writing and looking around for something new.”

Tokyo Police Club (Monks, keyboardist/guitarist Graham Wright, guitarist Josh Hook and drummer Greg Alsop) knew that a new direction could be their key—but that choice would not be without its pitfalls.

Despite lofty goals and a fervent fan base, Champ had only bumped them up to the next ladder rung, not the express escalator to the top they may have expected. Days and weeks sometimes went by without any band activity. For the first time, two members moved away from Toronto (Monks to New York City, Alsop to Boston). “At times it felt like people maybe lost faith,” says Monks. “And it really came down to the four of us gelling. When we came back to the surface, everyone was really excited again, like they had never left.

“On Champ we were exploring new corners of our band,” continues Monks, “and a lot of it was unintentional, happy accidents. This time around we wanted to have lots of those. We made an effort to make our songs more direct and understandable and maybe cross over to people who wouldn’t normally listen to Tokyo Police Club. And then it was that act of balancing, keeping it ‘us,’ making something universal about it.”

Their first decision was to provide themselves with the time they needed to make something lasting. “We spent so long on Forcefield but we had to, there’s no other way it could have gone down,” says Graham Wright. “We did everything we needed to do to make the record. And we were bemoaning how circuitous most of our process usually is: we go on this weird path and then three days later we end up exactly where we started. But we realized that you have to allow yourselves to go on these insane tangents because every once in a while they make you put three songs together into an eight-minute medley that’s the best thing the band ever did. And if you were too busy trying to be simple and to follow your gut, you would never do that.”

The eight-minute medley to which Wright refers is “Argentina,” Forcefield’s lead track, a polished, earnest, high-octane and slow-burning epic that began as three separate songs in the same key that were stitched together into a seamless conglomeration nearly four times as long as some of the earliest Tokyo tunes. It’s a statement, for certain, but in the context of the process that birthed it, the song serves as more of a symbol of the foursome’s renewed confidence and trust in each other than an experimental jumping-off point.

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The eight tracks that follow sound like the Tokyo Police Club you know and love but somehow manage to reach a little higher into the rafters. The genuine spirit in the catchy choruses of lead single “Hot Tonight” and “Toy Guns” reflects the anthemic music that all four bandmates were inspired by while recording, and “Miserable” features a concert-ready refrain sure to infuse crowds of all sizes. This is a watertight sound that only a band of best friends could make, a band who after ten years of playing music together and over a decade and a half of friendship wrapped themselves up in a force field and gave it their all, realizing who they are in the process as well as what their songs bring to their audience and to each other.

“We became aware that the objective on the songs was to relate,” says Monks. “It wasn’t about being cathartic or poetic or shrouded in mystery, it was just to be super open. I’ve done that lyrically and we’ve done that musically as a band; we’ve been more forgiving to these songs and let them just be the kind of songs they are and not tried to make them flow with the trends. We’re stoked on this record—we think it’s the best record on the planet right now.”