Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Tokyo Police Club

  • A Lesson in Crime [Paper Bag EP, 2006] A-
  • Elephant Shell [Saddle Creek, 2008] A-
  • Champ [Mom + Pop, 2010] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

A Lesson in Crime [Paper Bag EP, 2006]
For 16 minutes and seven songs, four Toronto DIYs make it seem easy--not their talent, their spirit. Articulated guitar cycles don't occur to every indie wannabe, which is why so many pretend they have bigger plans; the trick of skirting meaning without risking the full monty leaves most bands with their panties in a bunch. But so often those who have the talent don't believe, or convince us, that such feats are beautiful, engaging, worth doing. These kids know the gift is for sharing. A-

Elephant Shell [Saddle Creek, 2008]
Never again is nostalgia as immanent as in your early twenties, when you're just old enough to feel you're no longer, as you see it, young--not a child anymore, not even a teenager. In the first full-length by this Toronto band most would still call young, David Monks' falling melodies and blurred lyrical memories capture this poignancy in 11 songs that wedge perturbed postpunk guitar and keyboard into punky two-and-a-half-minute songs. Very minor, rather lovely and it rocks. A-

Champ [Mom + Pop, 2010]
Little by little these Toronto postpunks are growing up. Not that they're trying to act mature--in fact, if you're old enough to consider mature a category they'd just as soon you listen to the Arcade Fire or somebody old like that. They're playing for their contemporaries, who apparently have not a care in the world except those that proceed naturally from play. This adds up to plenty of cares--romantic complexity, sibling rivalry, coming home wasted in the middle of the night, etc. So lest anyone get bummed, they've gotten more generous with their tunes. Slowed down and keyboarded up, these tunes make what cares they do bear seem lyrical--carefree. A-

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