Tokyo Police Club Elephant Shell
    • FRIDAY, APRIL 25, 2008

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    Given the heaping help of hype that accompany this one, one could be forgiven for confusing Tokyo Police Club’s Elephant Shell (Saddle Creek) for anything but a debut album. Plenty of folks sort of lost their collective shit over A Lesson in Crime’s 16 minutes worth of music back in ’06. And both the Smith EP and the Your English is Good single have helped tide fans of the band’s crystalline song craft over since then. All of which actually makes Elephant Shell Tokyo Police Club’s debut full-length…if 28 measly minutes qualifies as a long player.

    There is a reason for the short cycle through. With all but one song clocking in under 3 minutes, the Toronto-ish band are a calculating bunch of Canucks, and their pension for efficiency lay firmly on display at all times throughout the record. Tracks like “Juno”, “Nursery, Academy” and “Centennial” are packed taut and tight. But a peak inside reveals a band that places demanding expectations on their art. Melodies listeners won’t soon forget, dare deviling feats of energy, guitars that streak across the sky like fighter pilots, and the 20/20 pulse from an always pounding rhythm section…Tokyo Police Club know both what they want and how to get it, committing all tracks to tape in warm, crisp, and pristine recorded qualities.

    ‘Course none of this means the album is an instant guarantee. Like Death Cab for Cutie (whom they most resemble sonically) and the Decemberists (who they most resemble vocally), Elephant Shell is ultimately a rather polarizing listen. Where one listener might find the band’s semi-romantic brand of neatly kept guitar songs completely appealing, another will hear utter atrociousness…which is fine. Don’t fault a band for not being all things to all people. What matters most is that they be all things to enough people…something Tokyo Police Club has never had a problem doing. – David Pitz

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