The sophomore effort from Canadian quartet Tokyo Police Club feels like a visit home after leaving for college. The album navigates the discovery that everything you once knew, though still there, will never be the same. Singer Dave Monks laments, "I remember when our voices used to sound the same, now we just translate."

The band's shift in maturity, evident in their lyrics, is noticeable in the music as well. The electric guitars have lost their jittery anxiety, instead taking up comfortable rhythms with cheerful keyboards, appropriately reflecting the album's complacent state.

Champ's greatest successes include "Favourite Colour," which goes down with the ease of a beer with an old friend — reminiscent, emotive, euphoric; "End of a Spark"; and the slow roll of "Hands Reversed," which exemplifies the band's softened personality.

Champ is a beautifully self-reflective and sentimental glance back at the past from a pause at a crossroads. While these past few years have given Tokyo Police Club a new air of sophistication, we appreciate this grownup version as much as their former selves. The scenery might be a little different, but Monks has it right on "Breakneck Speeds" when he sings, "But it's good to be back...good to be back..."

  • Album: Champ (2010)
  • Artist: Tokyo Police Club
  • Label: Mom + Pop Music Co.
  • Songs: (1) Favourite Food (2) Favourite Colour (3) Breakneck Speed (4)Boots of Danger (Wait Up) (5) Bambi (6) End of a Spark (7) Hands Reversed (8) Gone (9) Big Difference (10) Not Sick (11) Frankenstein (12) First Date Kit

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