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'Champ,' Tokyo Police Club 

My, how TPC has grown.

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Tokyo Police Club has changed a great deal — sonically speaking — since 2006’s tremendous EP A Lesson In Crime. The group’s members are no longer shouty upstarts and Champ displays a real range in songwriting.

The album’s opener, “Favourite Food,” begins with electronic drones only to give way to a barebones Neutral Milk Hotel-sounding acoustic rambling and then, somehow, finishes as a clappy rocker. The band’s grasp on their craft is also apparent on “Hands Reversed,” which pulls off a slow tempo and a sense of space that avoids unnecessary instrumental clutter.

Champ‘s biggest lags come when songs like “Not Sick” and “End of a Spark” employ a punchless middling pace.  The band is at its best when things get fast and fun. “Bambi” flows with a killer mash-up of fluttering electronic sounds that force involuntary head bobs and shoulder shakes. And the jerky dance vibe of “Big Difference” shines with similar energy.

DOWNLOAD: “Bambi”

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