Design By Humans
Published On: Fri, May 9th, 2014

Tokyo Police Club: Forcefield

TPCTokyo Police Club
(Mom + Pop Music)

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Tokyo Police Club is one of those bands that emerged on the post-punk scene with a name that was a bit too easy to confuse with other acts. Consequently, they have been one of those bands I’ve enjoyed without going so far as to memorize all their material. Unfortunately, the band’s fourth album, Forcefield, won’t be the record to change that habit.

For the most part, Forcefield is about half an hour of pop rock, with lyrics and music that are fun without being challenging. In fact, during my first listen, I made the note “‘Beaches’ kind of sounds like everything else.” Most of Tokyo Police Club’s songs are short, so I felt compelled to count how many times the phrase “feel the effect” was used in the song with the same title. If I counted correctly, the answer is 29, excluding backing vocals. With the album being so short, it seems like a waste to not bother writing an actual chorus.

Having said that, “Gonna Be Ready” has brilliant swagger and riffs that capture attention. “Tunnel Vision” also employs that skillful energy. “Toy Guns” employs some interesting, juxtaposed styles of straight pop when singing about guns, followed by a quick, dirty riff. The clash shouldn’t work, but somehow channels the conflict of finding identity in youth.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that anything is outright wrong with Forcefield, but I was turned off by “Argentina (Parts I, II, III).” This album opener is over eight minutes long, and it sounds like the kind of power pop that would be on the radio in the year 2000, complete with cheesy lyrics. Forcefield is certainly fun enough, but it doesn’t feel like a band moving forward, especially for their first original LP in four years.

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Tokyo Police Club: Forcefield