TOKYO POLICE CLUB: Elephant Shell: CD

When a Saddle Creek band is at its strongest, it can take the idea of indie pop or rock and turn it inside out, substituting any preconceptions of blandly delivered histrionics for something that is a powerful and necessary listen. Unfortunately, this Tokyo Police Club disc doesn’t have the urgent crush of the Desaparecidos or Cursive’s impassioned confessionals to take it into superior territory. Instead, it’s a bland and bloodless affair that accomplishes nothing extraordinary with its sparse sound and maybe Morrissey vocals. It doesn’t have to be something loud and fast, but this brand of tepid, hesitant delivery never helped anyone get the feeling of their music across. Hell, even The Smiths had some flair to the most dour of their ballads.

 –Reyan (Saddle Creek)