Tokyo Police Club - Forcefield

by Greg Spencer Rating:8 Release Date:2014-03-24

Canadian indie quartet Tokyo Police Club have been around almost 10 years now and have never quite made the breakthrough many thought they were capable of. Their latest record, Forcefield, has caused a polarizing debate between fans of this band. Head to any YouTube video of the songs off this record and you’ll witness the diverse opinions regarding this release and how much of a change the band have made in terms of their overall sound.

If we leave that debate aside for the time being and judge this album based on its own merits, rather than the band’s back-catalogue, what we have here is a captivating work which starts with the eight-minute epic ‘Argentina (Parts I, II & III)’, opening the record with a real poppy enthusiasm. It doesn’t feel weak; this isn’t bubblegum or flimsy stuff. The songs are well-crafted and much more intricate than I have given this band credit for before. The next two songs, ‘Hot Tonight’ and ‘Miserable’, are simple enough yet may be the best tracks on the album due to just how much of a ball they are. There’s a real sense of fun with this band and it consistently translates throughout this record.

However, there are some slower moments which don’t quite match up to the quality of the majority of stuff on here. ‘Toy Guns’ just plods along and seems to just drift into a bland state of nothingness. ‘Tunnel Vision’ is marginally better but still, a fair bit of the song ambles along, not really evolving or going anywhere. But these are the worst songs on the record; the rest lift the quality so you forget how boring these tracks are quite quickly.

The mix of indie-rock and the slight experimental ambient tone works really well. Although some of the band’s hardcore fans may feel somewhat alienated, this album remains a coherent and cohesive work. It might need a few repeat listens to appreciate but it is a seriously enjoyable ride. Tokyo Police Club should gain a huge following because of this record.      

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