Roe’s Best Albums of 2014: #3 – Forcefield by Tokyo Police Club

Artist: Tokyo Police Club

Album: Forcefield

Produced by: Doug Boehm and David Monks

Released: March 24, 2014

Forcefield-TokyoPoliceClubalbumThis isn’t Tokio Hotel, that weird German(?) screamo(-ish?) band. Get that shit out of your head. This is Tokyo Police Club: Your (new) favorite Canadian indie rock band. Fuck Arcade Fire.

This was the first good album I heard come out of 2014 and it nearly blew me out of the water. As soon as I played “Argentina” I was like, What the hell is this?!

I was first a fan of TPC in high school. I heard/saw “Tessellate” on MTV and really liked it. I liked a few other songs on Elephant Shell, but in recent years never really followed up with the rest of the band’s material.

I know reviews, expectations, and opinions of this record were low and many seemed unimpressed, even diappointed. I have to disagree; Though this album has more of a pop feel than TPC’s previous records it’s so nice and refreshing to listen to. Yes, “Hot Tonight” is clearly the single, but there are so many other wonderful tracks (see below). And to add to that fact, the album just flows so well and cohesively moves as a whole. I love the lyrics (though cheesy at times), the instrumention, the production, the panning, the rhythms, Dave Monks’ voice. I’m just all about this record. I love it. I get excited listening to it. I bought it on vinyl. (To those that don’t know me, I usually don’t do that unless I really like a record.)

Please do yourself a favor – Have a drink, sit down, and listen to this record. Fall inside like I did. It’s worth the time.

Listen to:

Tokyo Police Club’s ‘Forcefield’

TPC_ForcefieldPaul 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!