Album Review: Tokyo Police Club
Tokyo Police Club
Melon Collie and the Infinite Radness, Parts One & Two
Dine Alone Records (2016)
Divided geographically, Canadian pop-rockers, Tokyo Police Club, decided to forgo the lengthy recording process required to produce a full-length album, and instead opted to release two new five-song EPs in 2016.
Melon Collie and the Infinite Radness, Part One made its debut in April, while Part Two hit the shelves in September.
Since gaining a degree of international success, half of the band decided to stay in Ontario, while lead singer/songwriter and bass player, Dave Monks, opted to move to New York City to work on a solo record, and drummer Greg Alsop relocated to California.
Josh Hook, guitarist for the band, said the physical distance between the band members was one of the biggest factors in deciding to release the five song EPs.
“There’s no substitute for actually being in a room with the other members, and we could only really do that around shows, or we’d meet up earlier in New York for a week before a show, and do some writing and a little bit of recording,” said Hook.
“So the songs really presented themselves in these short chunks, because that’s how we were attacking them.”
Hook said that the EP format allowed the band to be “more creatively quick,” in that there wouldn’t be the three-year lag between albums, as there was with 2011’s Ten Songs, Ten Years, Ten Days and 2014’s Forcefield.
The EPs themselves, while sticking to the perky, upbeat sound Tokyo Police Club are best known for, are also a creative departure, and there is evidence of an evolution both lyrically and stylistically.
Part One is darker in its use of nostalgia as a theme, and is indeed, bordering on melancholy.
Of the two EPs, this is the stronger collection of songs. The departure from full-court press pop-rock, to something a little less superficial, and a little more introspective, shows a maturity that’s far more relatable for a band 10 years into their career.
All five songs on Part One hint at the awful uncertainty that comes with not knowing if a love has reached its end or not.
“You don’t have to tell me much, just keep me in or out of touch. Am I losing you? I wish I could hide it away, but I can’t keep pretending, losing you. I’m out of my mind but I can’t look away from the ending, never tell me the ending,” Monks begs on the chorus of “Losing You.”
The endless refrain of, “Time doesn’t mean much to me if you’re not my girl” on the aptly titled, “Not My Girl,” would normally grate on a listener, but somehow it works here.
The weakest link on Part One is “The Ocean,” with its confusing synth-heavy dance mix interlude, but “Please Don’t Let Me Down” shines as the best cut of the first EP, and is a true ‘90s throwback, reminiscent of early Sloan.
Part 2 heads back into the upbeat garage rock sound and tempos the band is known for, with feel-good songs like “Awesome Day” guaranteed to end up in a future Coca-Cola commercial.
While each song on Part Two seems to stem from a dark past, there’s a hidden hopefulness betrayed in both the tone and lyrics.
“Hang Your Heart” is an offer to be there, and a plea to give someone else a reason to keep their head up, with lyrics like, “And we’re gonna make it through, and we’re gonna see the light, and I’m gonna keep a place for you inside to hang your heart, and when someone else is down, you can take your turn and say there is nothing that you need to hide away.”
“My House” is another ‘90s homage, and the best track on Part Two; sounding like it could have been an outtake from Weezer’s Blue Album.
Despite the obvious musical, and sometimes geographical influences on the two EPs, Tokyo Police Club maintains its quintessentially Canadian sound – which isn’t a bad thing.
“When we’re touring the States, and somebody puts something on, and it’s a very unmistakable Canadian band, one of the Americans we’re with will always be like, ‘What is this? It’s so Canadian,’” said Hook.
“I don’t know what that difference is, but I think we still have it. Canadians are a lot less cool.”
Tokyo Police Club will be playing at Flames Central on Oct. 7. For tickets and more information, please visit: http://flamescentral.com/