Sometimes I think that lyrical literacy might be too much to ask of musicians. I imagine that it’s hard enough to play an instrument well (which many bands cannot), so writing wry, witty verse-chorus-verse could be one wish too many. And while I don’t mind songs about wanting to get laid, getting laid or just after getting laid, I can’t relate for 11 songs in a row. (Unless you’re Kings of Leon, who write almost exclusively about their penises.)
Tokyo Police Club write songs that make me look up the lyrics, wondering if he said what I think he said. Often he didn’t say what I think he said, but something different altogether. (They may also write songs that make the whole world sing or make the young girls cry, but I don’t know that for sure. Those claims might need to be tested.) Listeners won’t find words like “australopithecine” or “tessellate” in most pop songs, but that’s what makes TPC stand out from the pack of garage revival bands dominating the scene.
The band is part of the recent gold rush of good indie music originating in Canada, perhaps due to the fact that kids from an area dominated by cold for several months of the year are limited to staying inside for band practice or playing hockey. Too bad it isn’t working out that way in Western New York (both avenues). Or maybe it is, and the kids from these parts just haven’t hit it big yet.
The band powers through their songs at break-neck pace, getting through an entire album in about 30 minutes. But while it’s a quick listen, it shouldn’t be perceived as an easy one. The songs reveal themselves slowly, and patient fans will enjoy them more with consecutive listens. Their full-length debut, Elephant Shell, made its way to Number 3 on Andy’s Top of 2008 list, and all the way to Dave’s Number 1.
TPC is out on tour starting at the end of this month, and while neither of us has seen them live, it would stand to reason that a band that takes as much pride in their songwriting would take equally as much in the playing of them. Here are a couple of tracks, a video, a couple remixes, and the tour dates after that. Check their store out for a bunch of schwag – from buttons to shirts – as well.
Tokyo Police Club – In a Cave (mp3) off Elephant Shell
Tokyo Police Club – Graves (video) off Elephant Shell
Tokyo Police Club – Juno (Ra Ra Riot/Andrew Maury remix) (mp3)
Tokyo Police Club – Tessellate (remix by Tom Campesinos!) (mp3)
Tokyo Police Club On Tour:
February 24 – Providence, RI *
February 25 – New York, NY *
February 26 – Washington, DC %
February 28 – Pittsburgh, PA %
March 1 – Cleveland, OH %
March 2 – Columbus, OH %
March 3 – Cincinnati, OH %
March 5 – Atlanta, GA %
March 6 – Tallahassee, FL %
March 7 – Orlando, FL %
March 10 – New Orleans, LA #
March 11 – Houston, TX #
March 12 – McAllen, TX #
March 13 – San Antonio, TX #
Mach 14 – Dallas, TX #
March 16 – Omaha, NE #
March 18 – Chicago, IL *
March 19 – Pontiac, MI *
(* – with Born Ruffians, % – with Harlem Shakes, # – with Ra Ra Riot)