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Friday, May 2, 2008



Tokyo Police Club "Elephant Shell"

Sticking with the "short and sweet" approach of their well-received 2006 seven-song, 16-minute EP "A Lesson in Crime," Toronto's Tokyo Police Club crank out 11 tracks in 28 minutes on debut long player "Elephant Shell." While lacking the frantic immediacy of the EP, its polished poppy postpunk hooks endear themselves with repeated listens.

"A Lesson in Crime" was four suburban kids, fresh out of high school, making intentionally raw music in their basements for fun. Now, though, after two years of the band's worldwide touring, "Elephant Shell" sounds exactly like what they have become — an older, more learned act trying to cement a career in the music industry. Aside from redundant throwaway "Listen to the Math," it's a strong disc brimming with catchy potential singles. Jangly guitars and hand claps give "In a Cave" a summer dance-party feel, while punchy drumming and new waveish synthesizers contrast with vocalist Dave Monks' morbid tale of grave-digging on the standout "Graves."

Looking to branch out, TPC craft a shoegaze edge on the soaring "Sixties Remake" and add glockenspiel and strings to the acoustic number "The Harrowing Adventure." While definitely a more "mature" effort, the group shoutalongs and youthful effervescent energy of "Your English is Good" show that the act still have a bit of their early spunk left in them.

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