Elephant Shell

Elephant Shell

There are worlds of arcane meaning concealed within Tokyo Police Club’s short and sharp-edged songs. After a promising debut EP, this Canadian quartet gets down to some serious, weird business on 2008’s Elephant Shell, a jagged sonic junkshop filled with tongue-twisting lyrics and leg-entangling rhythms. Tokyo Police Club follows in the avant-funk tradition pioneered by Gang of Four and the Contortions, with the visceral kick of the Strokes thrown in. David Monks’ pumping bass and pinched vocals set the tone for these tracks, and the grooves here are compelling, whether the band is marching with drunken dignity (“Listen to the Math”), staggering across barbed-wire guitar lines (“In a Cave”) or rushing pell-mell towards imaginary exits (“Sixties Remake”). Elephant Shell’s wordplay is likewise hard to shrug off, with “Tessellate” and “Your English is Good” noteworthy for their surreal imagery and well-chosen non sequiturs. Monks may throw the dictionary at the listener, but when it counts, he connects with tasty (if morbid) phrases and absurdist insights enjoyable by anyone with an appetite for pungent, astringent rock.

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