Champ

On their second full-length album, Ontario quartet Tokyo Police Club favor the lean and economical. Their songs are aerodynamic: Sleek opener 'Favourite Food' rockets forward with determination on the back of a jittery riff and vocalist Dave Monks' endearing croak. It's a pattern repeated throughout Champ. The group's great strength lies in the way it fuses light-speed guitars with ebullient melodies: 'Wait Up (Boots of Danger),' with its hiccuping rhythm and radiant guitars, could blend seamlessly into the first Strokes album, and the jaunty 'Gone,' flecked with odd organ blips, gets impressive mileage from a simple, beaming, singsong refrain. Tokyo Police Club are just as effective when they slow down: The sparkling 'Hands Reversed' could be slack-jawed Coldplay, its glimmering arpeggios supporting a laconic vocal from Monks. Rarely has crafting such high-velocity guitar pop seemed so easy.

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