The saddest thing about the world of music is that there’s always going to be more good music that you don’t know about than the stuff that you currently have on your playlist. So, I thought it would only be appropriate to dedicate one day each week to revisiting some tunes that never got the love it deserved. In this new Friday Flashback segment. ILS Music will be taking a great piece of music from the past and giving it a review as if it came out yesterday. After all, good music never fades away.
For this week’s Friday Flashback, I’m going back to the Spring of 2006. On April 18th, Tokyo Police Club enters the music world with their first release. An eight-song EP titled, A Lesson in Crime. At the time, they were based out of the small, cozy suburb of Newmarket, Ontario. The EP was released with the help of Paper Bag Records a local, independent record label based in Toronto that focuses on the local music scene.
The album, fueled mostly by the pleasantly-apathetic tone of Dave Monk’s vocals and the masterful synth work of Graham Wright, is just eighteen minutes of length, this album manages to include awkward, indie love ballads, scenes of a dystopian, robot-governed future, and enough catchy basslines to last a ska band an entire career. With clear influences from big-time names in Indie such as The Strokes and Les Savy Fav, the album is both a homage to the bands that they love while also being something entirely its own – the signature sound of Tokyo Police Club.
Even if you can’t spare the eighteen minutes you need to get through the whole album, there’s a few tracks which any music fan should hear. Don’t worry, they’re all very short – the longest one on the album is a few seconds under three minutes.
Citizens of Tomorrow is a quick, and creepy narrative about a future where humans are controlled by robot overlords. Bleak, I know, but the song is so good and the lyrics are delivered so nonchalantly that you’ll have to give it a listen – even if you don’t usually like songs that are essentially a mix of emo and science-fiction. With an intro composed of clapping and a martian-like chord progression, the dystopian tone is immediately set, and it never backs off. After being introduced to the setting that consists of “boys and girls, who are slaves built in spaceships at night”, the intro ends simply by stating “that’s 2009″. Well, Tokyo Police Club, I’m happy to say that your prediction was wrong. It is now 2015, and robots do not “rule the planet, and the moon and mars as well”. Well, not yet, anyway…
The synth-heavy movements throughout, the slurry of high-notes from a guitar, the simple bassline and percussion, the three-note keyboard movement in the verses. Every single thing about this song makes it sound like it was pulled straight from the soundtrack of a video game that was released on the Game Boy Advanced (you know you had one). Which is appropriate, because the reason I know of this band in the first place is because I heard this song on the soundtrack of an actual video game – College Hoops 2k7, to be exact.
Cyber-fueled aesthetic aside, Be Good is a two-minute classic of awkward-but-honest, indie-rock romance that centers on a rather tumultuous relationship – “Ways of the Samurai, parry, thrust, do or die” says it all. However, I find that the lyrics are so wide-open that you could probably interpret this song in an infinite amount of ways. Which is fine, every piece of important art should be interpreted in more than one way. This is the best song on the album, although it’s close. “Be Good” to yourself and give it a listen.
In the present-day, Tokyo Police Club is one-year removed from their last album, Forcefield. Although they’ve certainly come a long way, none of it would be possible without the eighteen-minutes of indie-rock-sci-fi-video-game-post-adolescent beauty that was A Lesson in Crime.