My current (and very early) front-runner for album of the year, Tokyo Police Club’s Forcefield is the cannonball that declares the official start of summer (even though it’s only March). This upbeat, carefree album has me dreaming of coastlines, tank tops, ironic sunglasses and that underlying smell of sunscreen. Quick, simple riffs make Forcefield an instant head-bobber, and its catchy choruses invite listeners to join in. Although somewhat simple and airy, TPC incorporate some familiar elements from albums past while adding some new sounds to their arsenal. The result: an album perfect for pre-games, pool decks and parties alike.
After waiting four years to release a new album, the TPC boys don’t waste any time in hitting the ignition switch on Forcefield. The record begins with an eight-and-a-half minute thrill ride in “Argentina (Parts I, II & III)”. A kaleidoscope of tempos, transitions and baselines, this track – which seems to never end – will leave you wishing it didn’t. I mentioned in a previous 3 Of The Week that I hoped this track would set the tone for the album. Fortunately for all of us, it very much does.
The first single, “Hot Tonight”, follows up the launch party beautifully. You’ll recognize the whimsical, high-pitched background vocals typical of TPC’s sound in the chorus on this one. TPC haven’t received much love on the US charts, but this single may change that.
The tone of the album remains pretty consistent until you reach “Toy Guns”. Perhaps the catchiest song of the bunch, this anthem-worthy chorus is bound to be a favorite for listeners and a high point for concert attendees.
Perhaps the most rockin’ track of the bunch, “Tunnel Vision” starts off with that great pump-you-up energy reminiscent of a Friday night pre-game with the guys.
“Through the Wire” is a personal favorite, but I don’t see it having any single potential. It’s the most upbeat long-distance relationship song I’ve heard – a refreshing take on an otherwise loathsome situation.
The record ends with the sunset that is “Feel the Effect”. Its riffs and beats are hypnotic, something you’d expect to hear on a Tycho album. The finale evokes that satisfied feeling of sunburnt shoulders and sandy toes you get on the drive home from the beach. Just as the sun fades in your rearview, Forcefield fades in stereo – yet both leave a similar, lasting sense of satisfaction.
My only critique of Forcefield lies in some of the less-refined songs like “Miserable” and “Gonna Be Ready”. For the most part, the album relies heavily on ear-pleasing choruses – and frankly, that’s very much what makes it so great. Yet, some of the tracks may come across as simple and underwritten, a problem highlighted by the album’s greatest success, “Argentina”. To me, the simplicity and easy-to-learn choruses are what make this album so lovable. Regardless of what the weather’s like where you are, on March 25, summer is officially here.