Elephant Shell

Release Date: 04.22.08

Whether properly or improperly employed, nothing beats juxtaposition to illustrate the strengths and weaknesses of an artist and I really love Star Wars. See?

Tokyo Police Club's use of juxtaposition jumps from specific enough to earn intellectual credit and random enough to question if they're paying attention. I'm mostly harping about the pairing of two songs, "Sixties Remake" and "Nursery, Academy," but I feel in dealing with it, we'll get to the bottom of this great mystery barrel that is Tokyo Police Club and their otherwise excellent release, Elephant Shell. What gets my goat is that both of the above songs not only sound similar to one another in tone and style (so much so that I had to check if a new song was beginning during each of my four listens to the album), but they both utilize similar start-stop techniques (causing me to check again).

What's most frustrating is that if these two songs weren't placed back to back, I doubt I would have noticed or cared about the similarities at all and just kept rolling with the Club, reaping the rewards of more conscious juxtaposition to come. On the pro-juxtaposition end, most of the rest of the album plays beautifully, typified with "The Harrowing Adventures Of...," the song and the placement of the track. A fine stand-alone tune, the hollow booming clap beat and limited instrumentation of "Harrowing" work wonderfully against the surrounding tracks, making a case for juxtaposition framing a great song perfectly.

Fortunately for most listeners, you won't have to be so heady to enjoy Elephant Shell, which for the greater part of its all-too-short 28 minutes launches from the opening track and rarely slows down. Audio landscapes are painted, guitars are soared and enjoyment is had. There are even phrases worth mentioning, such as "You've been famous since your birth." Elephant Shell has all the makings of Tokyo Police Club at their best, but if you loved 2006's A Lesson in Crime, maybe don't play it immediately before.

Tokyo Police Club


Saddle Creek

Elephant Shell