Champ (10 Year Anniversary Deluxe)
Building on the momentum of 2008's debut LP Elephant Shell, the Canadian indie rockers put everything on the line by signing to a larger label and working with hotly tipped producer Rob Schnapf for their second LP. Compared to Elephant Shell's knotty post-punk rhythms and bookish one-liners, the tempos were slower and the songs got more reflective. Steeped in joy and a tinge of melancholy, lead singer David Monks looks back on old friendships (“Breakneck Speed”) and makes up for lost time “Boots of Danger (Wait Up)” over sleek, streamlined guitar pop. The infectious keyboard lines and bright melodies of “Not Sick” and “Bambi” also highlighted the band at their most comfortable and self-assured. “Less big words and more exclamation marks,” Monks sings alongside chugging riffs on “Big Difference,” fitting words that sum up their bold make-it-or-break-it moment. This 10th anniversary edition adds in some revealing unreleased session tracks and a few inspired remixes (including a fun, synthy rework of “Gone” by Matt and Kim) to show the full scope of the band’s ambitions.