Saddle Creek | Tokyo Police Club | Reviews


Elephant Shell

Author: Jody Rosen
05/01/2008 | Rolling Stone | | Album Review
Many songs on this spiky Canadian quartet's full-length debut are best appreciated with a Webster's Unabridged Dictionary close at hand especially with lines like "Dead lovers salivate/Broken hearts tessellate." Tokyo Police Club's 2006 EP, A Lesson in Crime, earned them copious blog love and frequent comparisons to the Strokes, but Elephant Shell makes clear that the band's ambitions are as much literary as musical. Singer-bassist David Monks' words pour out in clotted couplets "Fending off the giants of the deep/Pendants from hanging teeth" with ironic mock poeticism that doesn't quite redeem their poetastery. But the music is lean, clean and spacious: expertly constructed post-punk miniatures full of ringing guitar and keyboard counterpoint, melodic bass work, and drumming that tilts rock songs like "Graves" and "In a Cave" gently toward the dance floor. TPC are better arrangers than songwriters; all eleven tracks burst with hooks, but only the single "Your English Is Good" feels fully cooked. It's a record best appreciated for its scattered flashes of magic, like the chiming second chorus of "Listen to the Math," which Monks punctuates in typical smarty-pants fashion: by crooning the word "australopithecine."

3 out of 5 stars.
Elephant Shell

Elephant Shell

LP / CD / MP3