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Toronto rockers Tokyo Police Club gamble on the long game

By Jamie Goyman
Tokyo Police Club revel in the sunny glory of reckless abandon with two-part EP. Photo: Nicole Fara Silver

Tokyo Police Club revel in the sunny glory of reckless abandon with two-part EP.
Photo: Nicole Fara Silver

CALGARY — “I think to be a musician you have to have a reckless abandon and really believe in your pipedreams and ignore all of the nay-say,” parses Tokyo Police Club keyboardist/guitarist Graham Wright.

With two EP releases and a 10-year anniversary under their belt in 2016, the Toronto four-piece have made sure listeners have kept up with April and September releases Melon Collie and the Infinite Radness: PT I and Melon Collie and the Infinite Radness: PT II. Scattered between Toronto, Los Angeles and New York City, the band has shifted into what seems to be a more honed-in yet sporadic dynamic. “We [didn’t record] the EPs the way we usually do. There might be two songs that were recorded in the same session otherwise it was months apart,” explains Wright. With the majority of the recording done separately, the unchartered territory not only kept the creativity flowing overtime, it also gave the band the opportunity to ensure that each song really did its own thing.

“With each new release, when we were working on a song, we really were thinking about what specifically that song was going to do, how it came across, what it said for itself, how it behaved. I think each song could stand on its own as a single.”

The new two-part EP gives a refreshing new take on what makes Tokyo Police Club tracks so memorable. The bright, guitar-driven first single “Not My Girl” reminds those who needed it just why they loved Tokyo Police Club. On “PCH,” vocalist/bassist David Monks’ pleading voice pulls the lyrics to the foreground. Both PT I and PT II are the resurgence fans have been waiting for since 2014’s Forcefield.

With a less polished vibe coming off the two EPs, and trickles of singles in-between have put the spotlight back on Tokyo Police Club, but it hasn’t all been realized as they imagined it would be.

“The idea is that instead of making one record, one splash, and have everyone react with ‘that was great, what’s next?’ we thought it would make more of an impact for a longer period of time. Although… Our genius plan didn’t pan out exactly how we wanted,” says Wright of some streaming service unpredictabilities.

Essentially growing up with each other and their music, since the ages of 19 and 21, the unity and rapport the four have is easily heard in their songs and witnessed live.

“Every single tour we’ve ever done is a fairly straight line graph, I think we like it more and more and just get better at playing live… There’s a lot of beaming from the stage or whispering a joke in the other guys ear, trying to get him to fuck up when he’s trying to play. We have reached a level where it’s just muscle memory now and it always feels like we’ve reached a destination. I just hope the radiance we feel inside comes through… Honestly, if you see us onstage joking and laughing with each other you basically got the picture, we’re just dorky guys.”

Tokyo Police Club perform at Alix Goolden Hall October 4th in Victoria, the Commodore Ballroom October 5th in Vancouver, Flames Central in Calgary October 7th, and as part of UP + DT Music Festival in Edmonton October 8th.

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