Tokyo Police Club
Tokyo Police Club's entry couldn't have been more exciting - A Lesson In Crime was an 8-song EP, full of high-energy punchy punky indie, tightly wound around bass, cheesy organ and bursts of spiky guitar. The follow-up, Elephant Shell, was a delight, taking that spit and fire and giving it a more mature grown-up feel without ruining anything. Champ, the second full-length, is more of the same - full of joy and anthemic melody, wholly 2010 in feel. The Canadian 4-piece have here started to breech the 3-minute song barrier, with great results. Standout songs include Breakneck Speed, Wait Up
and End of a Spark, songs that sound like a more indie Fratellis. Champ takes a couple of run-throughs to fully get into - some of the immediacy has gone in growing up, but it has been replaced with genuine quality.
ACE rating 8/10
History From Below
Delta Spirit almost define the can-do spirit of indie music. Their debut album, Ode To Sunshine, is an essential record that has been released and re-released as the band started to gain its audience. And that audience has been gained one fan at a time by taking the show on the road, and blowing people away nightly.
That album should be on every music fan's shelves, sounding like
The Band 40 years later - along with These United States and Centro-matic, this is America's new best new Band. One of the main benefits of that continual live experience is that the follow-up has been honed in front of audiences, and, through a process of evolution, the 11 songs here are genuinely great. Keeping the live studio sound, there is a real sense of space and energy - fortunately the band's range is maintained, rather than simply filling the album with barnstormers - Salt In The Wound is touching, aching. History From Below is another essential album from a band you have to know about.
ACE rating 9/10
One Little Indian
Once upon a time, Pernice Brothers were able to put together outstanding wit, lyric writing and punchy exciting music. That time was 2001, with the World Won't End. Since then, with 2003's Yours Mine and Ours, 2005's Discover A Lovelier You, and 2006's Live a Little, the highlights have become progressively harder to find. Like Teenage Fanclub, the sound is still there (very like Teenage Fanclub in sound), the lyrics are still there, but my goodness, Joe Pernice's voice has gone. Most of this album sounds like it took him by surprise, and that he's singing a couple of keys above where he feels comfortable. This is a shame, as the songs are back to standard, but there is no way past the voice - while never the band's strongest asset, it was never a hindrance, but with this latest release it has become a distraction. Great set of songs for another band to re-record, though.
ACE rating 6/10