Best of 2008: #13, Tokyo Police Club

Rank: #13
Album: Elephant Shell
Artist: Tokyo Police Club
Label: Saddle Creek Records

As we continue, our countdown reaches #13, Tokyo Police Club's Elephant Shell.  This quick, and easy on the ears LP was the first full-length effort from the Canadian quartet, and has been met with favorable reviews from all around the web.  Though they're not the first non-Omaha artists to release an album via Conor Oberst & Co.'s Saddle Creek Records, the most noticeable thing about them is that they are very unlike the label's other acts.  Saddle Creek, as many know, is well-known for its country-twanged folk and indie sounds, playing off the label's original roots as a local, Nebraska-based collection of friends.  What Tokyo Police Club does here, I believe, is expand the label's base of appeal.  Their fast and catchy tunes are more enjoyable than artsy, more straight forward than existential, and probably possess more radio appeal than anything else on the label.

With no song topping 3:15, Elephant Shell, is definitely a pop album.  For most of the record, you'll hear a cracking snare drum pulsing you through the tracks, driving the mostly up tempo 11-track trip (unless, of course you have the 13-track UK version).  Admittedly, I had not heard these guys until they caught my ear while working at a local retail store.  Immediately though, something stuck out.  The songs had a theme- engaging, driving pop rock- the likes of which I've found hard to come by lately.  From the bright opener "Centennial," to the get up and dance single "Tessellate," and their most notable, group chorus-laden "Your English Is Good," each track takes you smoothly into the next, looking forward to what comes after.  If you've got 27 minutes or so to spare, this is highly recommended.  Some comparisons include Bloc Party, Interpol and Annuals.

Best Track: "Your English Is Good"

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