Tokyo Police Club is like the best children's literature: Energetic, fast-paced, whimsical, yet with a certain intellectual bent — as if the author is either catering to the handful of adults in the audience or just trying to see if the kids are paying attention. With 2006's A Lesson in Crime, TPC catered more to the youthful, frenetic half of that equation. A few more years and a lot of touring later, the Toronto foursome has graduated from picture books to heftier tomes, but the slightly more adult packaging sheathes the same raucous music. While early TPC focused almost exclusively on the thrill of gaily swaggering, punky, garage-infused pop, 2008's Elephant Shell shows the band trying out a few different styles, engaging in some bow tie-worthy wordplay and even dabbling with something approximating down-tempo songcraft. (Hell, they even crack the three-minute mark a couple of times.) A little bit of variety and some big words don't change the nature of the beast, though; TPC is still a band obsessed with the charisma of chaos, and its music still enraptures with the hooky, heady thrill of the two-minute pop song, where a childish grin is no faint praise.
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