Tokyo Police Club make some adjustments to tempo, mood, and song length on this sophomore album, released two years after the group’s Elephant Shell debut. The danceable indie rock that helped launch Tokyo Police Club’s career hasn’t been entirely abandoned, but it does take the back seat during this midtempo ride, which seems less interested in working up a sweat than exploring new directions. “Bambi” is one of the only songs to kill two birds with one stone; kinetic and tuneful, it also experiments with electronic keyboard effects, marking one of the few instances in which Tokyo Police Club challenge themselves without losing sight of their strengths. Elsewhere, though, the band can’t quite juggle all of its priorities without letting some of the balls drop. The guys have become more patient with their craft -- most of these songs are over three minutes long, a first in the TPC catalog, and Dave Monks sings them with a world-weary baritone -- but such patience comes at the expense of the band’s energy, which seems to decrease as the album progresses. Champ is still a melodic, eclectic record, but it often feels like the work of some other band.
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AllMusic Review by Andrew Leahey