“Operator? Get me the president of the world! This is an emergency!” screams David Monks in the opening song of A Lesson in Crime [Paper Bag Records], the debut album from the Canadian alt-punk band Tokyo Police Club. After the song kicks in, and believe me, it kicks in right away, Monks slurs the chorus like he’s only been speaking English for a few days, howling “Tokyo Police Club” at the top of his lungs.
In songs like “Citizens of Tomorrow,” the keyboards blend so well with the vocals you can understand how a computerized, robot-ruled future might evolve, and even relate to it. Plus, the clapping people in the background make it sound a little less bleak. When you think Tokyo Police Club (a very suitable name), think bouncing guitars, thought-out drum work and sometimes lax/sometimes intense vocals. But think that they don’t know what they’re doing in the studio, because the album is so well mastered George Martin could have produced it.
One of the bands novelties is that they sound so free in what is obviously a well-controlled environment. With Monks’ words flying from his lips, and keyboardist Wright hitting beautiful yet intense notes in every song, it’s obvious just how professional these guys are. However, it’s also obvious that the band isn’t only all about arrangements and noise. They sound like mechanical people; robots with human personalities, which is one of the most appealing things about them. Another is that they know this, and use it to create a harmonious blend of charisma and, well, not having any. Ultimately, Tokyo Police Club is a bunch of talented kids having fun with music and robots. Their electric sound mixed with their jaded prophecies of an industrialized, cyborg future give the impression that they wish that they were robots.
All in all, a pretty good CD. The world just needs to be programmed to know it.