Tokyo Police Club – Forcefield

ForcefieldQuestion: are you 11 years of age, weaned on a diet of chart pop, beginning to feel gently seduced by the charms of rock and/or roll, and need some unthreatening nice boys with haircuts to play some music about girls they want to kiss to gently ease you into the Skol scented, ketamine snorting, police horse punching fuck of a personality you’ll probably possess in your later teens? Well, here’s Canucks Tokyo Police Club to service your needs…

These guys seem to have been around forever, and it's actually been a somewhat terrifying near-decade since they put out their debut EP A Lesson in Crime – apparently released when they were about 8 years old, as they’re still singing about ‘high school’. Said EP was actually a thing of some charm. Though largely throwaway, its shimmering, grandiose delay, bouncy pace and clean, crunchy texture gave it something of an aural first sip of fizzy pop on your tongue quality.

The same, it's sad to say, cannot be said of their latest, Forcefield. There are some touches of their old splendour, here and there – a flight of fancy on the guitar here, a mood shifting chord change there (final track “Feel the Effect” is a good shout for this), a nicely weighted keyboard flourish somewhere else and even a couple of (accidental?) references to ironically sunny 90s guitar pop. But, it’s just too fucking sanitised to feel like you can have any sort of relationship with it as a self-respecting adult person. As the opening paragraph might imply, it’s kind of like listening to a boy band.

There are times when they go for a sort of snarling guitar punk-adjacent type thing (“Tunnel Vision”, “Gonna be Ready”) but, it’s just so processed it kind of feels embarrassing – you know, like that feeling you get when you read a news story about Justin Bieber. They called a song called “Hot Tonight”, for the love of Odin, which sounds as much like Maroon 5 as you think it does! And the lyrics… Let’s not even go into them.

Maybe this is what they want. There are few other concomitant touches that reflect a shift to a boy band mentality – the band-branded sunglasses that is the meta description of their website, the dates of birth on their Wikipedia page (well, come on, who can remember by heart when Tokyo Police Club released their fucking debut EP?)

You know what? Do tweens even listen to this sort of thing anymore? There’s something kind of dated about the only target demographic one feels this kind of thing could serve. So, the final question in our rhetorical series has to be, who the fuck is this for?

Release: 24th March 2014, Memphis Industries

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