I can’t remember the last time overused, whimsical melodies, pop-rock riffs and lyrics about crushes didn’t make me cringe or roll my eyes, but rather forced me to shut the fuck up, bob my head and sing along. Maybe it’s nostalgia for those good old days when student loans and tax seasons weren’t running rapid on the brain (’90s baby here – sorry guys!), or maybe some of us just need a break from the overcomplicated musicianship and calculated creativity being spewed out through every medium imaginable. Or maybe, it’s more along the lines of the fact that there’s something just pleasant and simple about Tokyo Police Club’s new album Forcefield.
It’s been about four years since our Newmarket, Ont., boys have graced us with a full-length album, and with their fourth – released March 25, 2014 – arriving just in time for spring, I’d say it’s just what we needed. After touring with Foster the People, it’s easy to see a sort of resemblance, minus the tired sound of trying too hard, of course. And with indie rock bands being pushed out of the limelight over the last few years for being not at all indie, TPC isn’t conforming for a way back in.
Forcefield doesn’t sound strategic and doesn’t overwhelm the listener. The album is delivered with all the precision and thoughtfulness of a well-produced collection and all the ebullience and boyishness of a jam session. With only nine tracks, (although ‘Argentina (Parts l, ll, lll)’ serves as three) the album is like a little ride away from home, pumping small amounts of serotonin to the brain. I could pick on those aforementioned overused riffs and melodies, which if we’re honest, became too much to bear on some tracks, like ‘Toy Guns’, that just wouldn’t do it for me. But for the most part, TPC’s revered quirkiness tossed with an evident maturity make it work.
Standout tracks include the starting track(s) ‘Argentina Parts l, ll, Ill’, which is a like an odyssey within an odyssey, recounting the tale of love longed for, love found, and love lost. Each part with a different sound appropriate to the emotion conveyed, the songs immediately show signs of the band’s maturity.
‘Gonna Be Ready’ shows a darker side of the album, even with those upbeat riffs and a pretty catchy chorus. The sweet and chill ‘Beaches’, first released at a live show back in 2011, does well with its coyness and imagery. First single, ‘Hot Tonight’, tends to grow on you, dismissing any prior annoyance you had for the genre, with all its glory and goddamn catchiness. Personal favourites, ‘Through the Wire’ and ‘Feel the Effect’, should have just been one smooth track that I could put on repeat for days. ‘Through the Wire’s endearing lyrics and adorable melody put you in that pleasant mood discussed earlier as it moves effortlessly into ‘Feel the Effect’s dreamy guitars and overlapping vocals.
Tokyo Police Club’s Forcefield LP is currently available on iTunes.
Check out their website for current updates and touring info!