Overlooked: Tokyo Police Club - Elephant Shell

While having to compete with stellar 2008 releases from the likes of My Morning Jacket, Deerhunter and No Age (to name a few), it's easy to see why Tokyo Police Club's first LP 'Elephant Shell' (via the Saddle Creek label) was left out of many end of year lists - even if just an honorable mention.

Sure, these guys are still young and 'exploring the space' but, they have always been a band that you were hearing or reading about, late-buzz or not. The ability to hang around and stay relevant in the indie-rock world (and the minds of it's inhabitants) is essential if only to develop a super-core fan base that sticks for the long haul (Vaselines anyone?).

The first half of the album is melodic and sparkling. Burst-fire drum riffs offer the resemblance of Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti setting the base for lush, pop-laden deliveries, short and collected.

The second half of the album wains and strays from the first-half formula in which the young band flourishes. Soft ballads and faux-stadium anthems dull the party and ultimately set up a few early album re-hashes - too little, too late.

However, with 11 tracks and a total time of under 30 minutes, the ratio is in their favor. 'Graves' is easily the album's best track which received some early exposure on Mtv2's Subterranean as a multiple show resident. Other bright points on the rookie LP are the peppy opener 'Centennial' and the the mid-album dance track 'Tessellate' which also made a Subterranean appearance.

This is an album of two halves - unfortunately, the latter completely forgettable. But, the illuminated areas early in the album do glow bright. Expect great things.

Final rating: 6.7/10 (if the first half of the album was an EP, it would be an 8.)
Key tracks: 'Graves', 'Centennial', 'Tessellate'

VIDEO: Tokyo Police Club - 'Graves'