Tokyo Police Club

By now, maybe the backlash against Tokyo Police Club has abated. Sure, the Canadian quartet's much-hyped A Lesson in Crime debut EP sounds like a teenage Strokes tousling their sound with zippy synths and mod touches, but it doesn't set out to be anything more than upbeat fun. There's a marauding robot, after all, on the record's cover.

That EP crams seven songs into 16 minutes, packing smart lyrics into jittery rave-ups: "Do your neighbor a favor/Collect their morning paper/Clip out all the sad bits/No one wants to read them/Let them take their kids to school and the zoo in peace." That's vocalist/bassist Dave Monks on "Cheer It On." Later, on "Your English Is Good," he leads the cheer with "Give us your vote/If you know what's good for you" before the hook kicks in. Since when have the Strokes had lyrics that pleasing?

Tokyo Police Club's recent Smith EP puts those comparisons to rest, though. There's more swagger and less pep than its predecessor, and Monks' lyrics are easier to make out. And with a new LP due out in late April, we'll have to wait and see whether they stick to curt stabs of punky pop, or slow things down like they do briefly on Smith. Not that it matters; they'll be fighting haters all the way.

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Doug Wallen

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