A Slice of Fried Gold

The Year in Music to Date

Monday, March 24, 2008

There has been a bunch of great new music so far. Even better, I've been discovering a lot of music I missed from last year, such as Albert Hammond, Jr's solo debut Yours to Keep, Pinback's exemplary Autumn of the Seraphs, Ghostland Observatory's bizarrely genius Paparazzi Lightning, and White Rabbits' debut Fort Nightly. I definitely missed big time on all of them.

With that said, there are three albums this year that have stood out above the rest for me. Two I've raved about the bands already, with two self titled debuts coming out from Vampire Weekend and Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground respectively (review for Kay Kay may be coming...depending on something I'm looking to put together). But the other album is a bit of a surprise that I like it so much, especially when I say it is on par with the other two.

On April 22nd, Tokyo Police Club is releasing their first full length album titled Elephant Shell, and of course it is out there for the grabs if you so choose. I checked it out, mainly to decide if I will buy it when it comes out and the answer is an emphatic "yes!"

The guys in Tokyo Police Club are all very young (definitely younger than yours truly) but their music is remarkably technically solid and scatterbrained simultaneously. They had only released a pair of EP's before this, neither of which in my opinion really gave the idea that they were capable of an album so cohesive and consistently fantastic. I liked their material, but it really took seeing them at Bumbershoot last September for me to really get them. Well, that and the release of this album.

Elephant Shell maintains the kinetic nature of their previous material but manages to tighten it up into something that resembles a whole album. Instead of being disconnected two minute burn outs of songs, they now have pop sensibilities and the sense of connection that really makes their sound not only palatable, but addictive. Before they had all the elements of a delicious post-punk extravaganza, with their spacey keyboards, the hand claps, the gang vocals, but they didn't have the experience to tie it all together. Now? The whole is finally greater than the sum of the parts.

Take a look at single "Your English is Good." This track is a perfect example - I could legitimately see this becoming the feel good hit of the summer, as it is so toe tappingly great with the shoutalong background vocals and the repetitively genius keyboard lines, I can't imagine anyone not asking "who is this?" by the end of it (which is an incredible 3 minutes and 11 seconds after the beginning, quite possibly a new record for the band). If any track is representative of the step they've taken, that track is.

Want something that is catchy, driving, and a little bit off the beaten path? Pick up Tokyo Police Club's debut Elephant Shell April 22nd. It's a great album, albeit not exactly the world's longest one, clocking in at slightly less than half an hour. Also, if they come near you check them out for sure. Not only do they totally rule live, but they are really nice guys who seem to really care about putting on a good show.


Patty said...

Fort Nightly was a Coulda Been! Welcome from La Grande, Oregon.

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