Music Review: Tokyo Police Club's Elephant Shell

by Vincent Lee

Elephant Shell is the debut album of the Canadian quartet Tokyo Police Club. The band has gained a significant following from their energy-filled live shows. This album is sure to win them more. (The group has also released two short EPs.) Though it is a short album, only eleven songs for a total of twenty eight minutes, it packs quite a punch and shows a great amount of potential from the young band.

Throughout the eleven songs only one ("Your English is Good") breaks the three minute mark. The rest float around two minutes in length. The brevity of these songs is not a detriment. Each song is extremely catchy and likeable. Many lyrical lines from Tokyo Police Club (TPC) contain more depth than one might believe or understand for that matter. Littered throughout Elephant Shell are interesting lines that make one pause amongst the indie pop jams. The energy that comes out of each song on TPC's debut shows signs of great potential.

Oddly enough, the aforementioned energy and signs of potential are perhaps the only true flaws of the album. Only so much energy can be showcased on a studio album. For a large part of Elephant Shell, TPC seems trapped in the studio. There is energy, but so much more could be unleashed in a live performance. Similarly, at times, the great potential TPC shows seems trapped in such short formats: like any good band, they leave you wanting more. These flaws do not make the album bad, but hinder it to a degree.

However, for a debut album, Elephant Shell is something special. It is both consistent and enjoyable. The album should reach a broad range of listeners. Though Tokyo Police Club does not do anything extremely unique or groundbreaking, the band finds a way to be appealing without irritating repetition. A very good first album, Elephant Shell is hopefully a sign of more things to come.

(Promotional photo of Tokyo Police Club from Saddle Creek Records. The band will play New York City tonight, April 22, as part of its world tour. To sample the band's video for "Tessellate" from Elephant Shell, please check below.)

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