In 2006, Tokyo Police Club's A Lesson in Crime EP—16 minutes of speedy, punchy indie rock gold—quickly made the Newmarket, Ontario, foursome one of North America's hottest buzz bands. Four years later, the harsh internet hype cycle having moved on, the band has been able to record and tour its excellent second album, Champ, on its own terms.
"It's a huge sigh of relief," says keyboardist Graham Wright, on the phone from Washington, DC. "When Elephant Shell came out, it got mixed reviews, as most records do: some people liked it, some people hated it and, in general, things grew and we played to bigger crowds. But it took away that whole craziness. We were able to retreat into ourselves a bit and just make the record we wanted."
Champ, released in June, confidently stretches the band's sound. Songs like "Favourite Colour" and "Breakneck Speed" ebb and flow without losing TPC's trademark energy. "I think we're a lot more comfortable now in our strengths, and we're more willing to take risks."
The band has spent 2010 alternating between headlining shows and high-profile opening slots for Passion Pit and The New Pornographers. Prior to their HPX-closing gig at the Paragon Saturday, they're playing shows in Montreal and Toronto with Phoenix. In November, they head out for a month in Europe. "It's pretty much been non-stop since the record came out, and that suits me fine," says Wright. "It's sort of in that phase now where I've sort of lost track of how long we've been out and how long we're gone for. The days all blend together. I don't know what day of the week it is most of the time, which is great—that means you're right in the zone." –RM