Paul McCartney’s McCartney II, Green Day’s American Idiot, Saves The Day’s In Reverie, MGMT’s S/T, Tokyo Police Club’s Forcefield. I tend to be really drawn to albums within a band’s discography that their core fanbase tends to dismiss or be disappointed by. It’s a slowly developing pattern I’ve begun to notice. I love all the above albums dearly. They’re so deliciously good in their own right, despite their stylistic differences from their previous released material. I rarely get upset when bands do this because all it is is their natural growth as musicians and people and writers. As consumers, listeners, people we do the same! I’ve never understood why people take it so personal sometimes.
I am not exaggerating when I say I have been listening to Forcefield on repeat all day. As soon as I played “Argentina” I knew I was in for a ride. I must have listened to this album over 10 times in a row. This is not normal, especially for me. This is unanticipated behavior, but I just cannot help myself. It’s resonating. This album is pulsing with thumpin’ bass tones and guitar riffs that just want to make you swim inside crystal clear ocean tides. I’ve also noticed a lot of s p a c e on this album – Reverb and delay aplenty but tasteful, not overused. Vocal distortion on David Monks’ cathartic outcries are hungrily welcomed. But let me backtrack –
My first memory of Tokyo Police Club is seeing their music video for “Tessellate” on MTV at some point circa 2008 or so. I downloaded a few tracks off Elephant Shell and that’s about as far as it got. I don’t think I ever got into them as much, but I sure played the 1s and 0s out of “Graves”, “Tessellate”, and “In A Cave”. Great tracks, all! I’m almost certain TPC headlined a local town festival about 20 minutes away from me, but having only heard those tracks I wasn’t interested enough and let it go by. Boy, am I regretting it now.
Forcefields is bridging the dancey/EDM/Top40 assault we have all be enduring like a stinging, raging sandstorm to the authentic indie sound we’ve all really been craving deep down. There is a more polished feel on this record than Tokyo Police Club’s previously released material. I feel like I’m at a dance club on a space station searching for the cure. It’s compelling, adventurous, daunting, daring. I think TPC’s style and overall sound in Forcefield, could’ve been what MGMT could’ve sounded like had they not opted for psychedelic avant-garde. Don’t get me wrong, I love MGMT. But I think some of their fans resented them going that route, especially fans expecting Oracular Spectacular 2.
The intricate in and out synth/keyboard parts are truly the masterwork of this record. The nerve centers in my brain are having the time of their lives picking them out. David Monks’ voice is cool and soothing, navigating the ebbs and flows, peaking and falling. I don’t remember the last time I had this much fun out of listening to an indie pop record. I don’t remember having this much fun listening to a record straight, over and over!
Favorite tracks: Miserable, Beaches, Toy Guns, Tunnel Vision, Through the Wire – Fuck, the whole album is just brilliant. Go listen to it. In order. Like everyone had to do before we had a choice. That’s how it’s supposed to be!