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w/ Said The Whale
If the universe had tilted the tiniest bit, there would be no TPC—the not-quite self-titled fourth (and best) Tokyo Police Club album.
By 2016, singer-bassist and chief songwriter Dave Monks had settled into life in New York City; he made a solo record and did some co-writing. Drummer Greg Alsop was living and working in L.A. Keyboard player Graham Wright and guitarist Josh Hook remained in the band’s native Canada. Tokyo Police Club created songs via e-mail, thinking they had enough natural chemistry and experience to make that setup work. But eventually, the lack of friction meant there was less musical spark, and it dawned on everybody that the end was near. There was resignation, not anger, when Wright, Alsop, and Hook told Monks they were done with the band. They didn’t expect him to disagree.
But Monks said this: “Fuck no. Definitely not. Hear me out.”
“Let’s make this band feel like a band we would want to be in again,” Monks implored his bandmates. “Let’s make it about being present for the moments that are important more than about being devoted to some rock stardom fantasy. We at least gotta go make Abbey Road first, and go out with a bang. You don’t have to give me five records. Just give me a few more rehearsals and some studio time and then we’ll figure it out.”
To that point, it had been a fun career built on self-imposed high pressure. Right out of the gate, TPC felt energized and unstoppable, with critics and fans on their side. But as the band and the world evolved, they began to feel diminishing returns, though no less pressure. “In the mid-aughts, we were quite the thing there for a second,” quips Wright. “Things started to level out for our career. Knowing that the tenth anniversary Lesson in Crime tour might be our last, I found myself really alert and drinking it all in. From that point forward, without even noticing, I started to enjoy every aspect of it.”