It’s been 4 years since we’ve heard anything from Tokyo Police Club and fortunately for us, the wait ends today.
Forcefield, the band’s fourth studio album, hits record store shelves today and offers fans a new, refined version of the Toronto four-piece. It’s only as I’m writing this that the number four is quite prominent to the 2014 release of Forcefield.
Speaking of prominence, Tokyo Police Club has been a consistent and relevant force in popular music for almost a decade. They are no strangers to the ins and outs of the music industry, and have proven themselves time and time again.
“I feel like we’re always focused on getting to the next step. It’s good to stop and smell the roses now and then,” says the bands vocalist and bass player Dave Monks.
“It feels good to be where we are, but we’re about getting to the next spot. That’s what we’re about, growing and moving forward.”
After taking some time off to smell the roses, Forcefield should prove to blast Tokyo Police Club to the next phase of their career. Though the songs on the record sound—in my humble opinion—more conceived than albums past, TPC bring the same ‘live for today’ attitude to the table. This album, in general, takes the quirky sounds of Elephant Shell or Champ and irons out the sonic imprint. The result? A funkified, velvety cup of hot-cocoa to play out the remainder of our endless winter*.
*If that cup of cocoa has a splash or two of some Canadian whiskey.
Songs like Tunnel Vision, Argentina, Gonna Be Ready, and the single Hot Tonight make said whiskey bite prominent. On the other hand, Feel The Effect and Through The Wire close the record of with a more solemn approach.
“It’s definitely a party,” claims Monks.
According to Monks, the goal of this record was to make everything sound as big as it could without overcomplicating the tracks. “Weirdly, some of them—Beaches, and Feel The Effect—sound vibey just because of the music even though there’s not really that much going on in the song. Which is cool when you can do that,” details Monks.
Taking cues from the likes of Tom Petty, AC/DC, Phoenix, and even Katy Perry, Monks believes these songs are more comparable to popular music. Format was something they chose to adopt. “It’s great to be quirky and have this ‘flavour,’ but there’s some undeniable aspects of general songwriting that we had to embrace and really got into,” he explains. In doing so, the band hopes to appeal to a wider audience than ever before. In the months following the release, Monks hopes that everyone on the planet will hear the record.
As the band’s sound matures, they have a greater need for people with an ear for indie music to consider putting Forcefield in their regular rotation. Monks claims the interest in quality indie bands fades after their initial introduction.
“There’s this indie rock Pitchfork bubble where people have never heard of bands like The Flatliners. People don’t want to talk about bands like Cage The Elephant and Imagine Dragons and stuff like that,” reveals Monks. “It’s the bubble that brought us up. Trendy, snappy, post-punk indie, quirky bloggy stuff is where we came from, but now I want to make a record that won’t live or die based on it’s Pitchfork score. That was why we picked up the slack with writing more songs and working harder at them.”
As far as indie goes, they decided to jump into the studio without having a label in mind. A bold move, but one that proved to be more conducive to their creativity.
“There was no one to tell us no,” asserts Monks. Signing Doug Boehm on for another round was an easy decision for the band as well. “He engineered Champ so we had worked with him before. He’s our friend and he’s talented. Doug was kind of in touch [with our ideas] and we needed someone to come to Toronto for twelve weeks. He was down.”
With Boehm on board for a reprise, the band was lacking the funds for additional engineers and they had to step in to fill the shoes, or lack thereof. “We all learned Pro Tools as we were going and then I think I just got in there the most and got pretty good at it. I was doing a lot of grunt work,” the Torontonian describes.
And while the experience can be a helpful exercise when it comes to achieving a particular sound in the studio, Monks claims he wouldn’t do it again. “I think that it’s just too much to take on and you lose your perspective on certain things.” They called it ‘circles’ as they would change their mind several times on things and keep resorting back to the same conclusions.
Be sure to check Tokyo Police Club on tour this year as they spread the word about Forcefield. Finalizations have yet to be confirmed, but they’ll be sure to touch down in a city near you in 2014.
Feature image provided by Listen Harder.