Tokyo Police Club’s debut Elephant Shell was a very rare gem from 2008. A breezy, enjoyable Summer record, TPC’s first record had an enjoyable innocence to it, but it had an extremely annoying problem: Even though every song had different themes lyrically and different tempos musically, it all sounded extremely similar. Obviously, in an indie-rock record, having an album that sounds like one big song is a very disturbing problem.
But finally, after two years, TPC finally has the chance to redeem themselves with Champ, but it seems that, unfortunately, Tokyo Police Club didn’t really take the chance. Champ seems to act like the second verse to Elephant Shell, ensuring that the listener who listens to both records in a row doesn’t even notice the difference when it passes from one album to the other. Now, I’m not saying that the records are bad… Like I said in the beginning, Elephant Shell was a very rare gem in its own right and Champ, being more of the same, is also a great record. The problem is that when you find two supposedly “rare” gems in one place, they stop being rare and, thus, valuable.
Songs like “Favourite Colour” and “Big Difference” really beg to differ, by adding energy to the typical breezy formula, but not even then Champ sounds apart from its predecessor, ensuring that listening to “Tesseltale” or “Wait Up (Boots of Danger)” is an extremely similar experience, even though the band had two years to really explore new sounds.
So, all in all, Champ shows a band that has great potential, but is somewhat chained to the same sound for over two years. In my opinion, I think we should give them a couple of more records before they really unveil their full potential. Tokyo Police Club are obviously a great band but Champ, for now, feels like nothing more than a stepping stone in an extremely promising career.