Riff Review: Tokyo Police Club – “Forcefield” (Dine Alone Records)


Tokyo Police Club has become one of those bands to expect great things from…even if they take an Olympic-sized break tokyo-police-club-forcefield-smallbetween albums.

With their 2010 album, Champ, the band showed a remarkably new sense of musical maturity, while still managing to keep the youthful exuberance intact to resist the possibility of becoming a complete bore. Four years later, the script for Forcefield (due out on March 25 through Dine Alone Records) is similar, except for the fact that this album is ultimately the result of a band that went into this project with a great level of indecisiveness.

In the Riffyou.com conversation with band keyboardist Graham Wright back in February, it was explained that Tokyo Police Club had a lot of trouble trying to decide upon the sound and feel they wanted to convey. This led to a lot of song scrapping and starting over.

At last, here we are now. The season of spring, the time for rebirth, and the re-emergence of Tokyo Police Club with an outstanding album – everything feels very right about this.

The multi-part “Argentina” opens up the album with that danceable enthusiasm that’s become one of this band’s most enjoyable, steady signatures. Constructed not unlike Green Day’s “Jesus of Suburbia,” Tokyo Police Club bounces its way into your heart, before pulling back to let the subtleties of a slower exit bring you in.

And while it may just now be spring and this track is already on the radio, “Hot Tonight” should be the Canadian song of the summer. It feels warm. It feels slick. It feels like an offering that you want to share with that person you’re trying to romantically lure into your world.

The passionate, yet torn-inside “Beaches” has a mid-tempo that shines through with grace and a disco-like precision; while “Toy Guns” is perhaps one of Tokyo Police Club’s finer moments to date as it melds the band’s appreciation for pulsating alt-rock, while interweaving it with an island flavour. I may be crazy, but it certainly sounds like some steel drums were enlisted here.

“Tunnels” follows with an unrelenting opening bass line and a speeding along riff that doesn’t feel too unlike something Queens of the Stone Age or Foo Fighters could’ve written for the purpose of a rousing show opener.

While there’s nothing to complain about with Forcefield, the “Beaches,” “Toy Guns,” and “Tunnels” trifecta is this album’s shining star and reason enough to add it to your ear buds.

“What we were left with was what we like about our own band,” conveyed Wright to Riffyou.com. “[Our music] is not archaic and timeless – we’re not one of those bands that you’re going to listen to in 100 years and feel like it could’ve come from any decade. I think it is ‘of the moment’ to a large degree, but it’s not super trendy. I think we are finally getting comfortable with whatever it is that is working for us. We never adhere to trends that successfully.”

I couldn’t have said it any better myself.

To hear the album for yourself, the New York Times is offering a free stream of it for a limited time.

This album is: Riff Respected

­-Adam Grant

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