TOKYO POLICE CLUB at Sneaky Dee's (431 College), Saturday (April 22), 9 pm. $5, with CD $15. 416-603-3090. Rating: NNNNN
Tokyo Police Club must have someone upstairs on their side.
"It's just by chance that we put stamps on an envelope and dropped the package in a mailbox to get it to Pop Montreal," says singer-bassist David Monks. "And if we hadn't played Pop Montreal I'd be walking home from calculus right now."
After graduating from high school last year and spending their summer rocking out "just for fun," the old friends parted ways for university. Monks shipped out to Montreal for his first year at McGill.
But then the Pop Montreal demo they'd nonchalantly sent weeks earlier got listened to and the band got the call to play the festival their first actual paying gig.
"We were so excited, thinking this would be our last show," Monks recalls. "They all came up to my dorm room and stayed there, and we even practised there."
TPC's reputation for flag-waving no-party-barred shows, which would come to include signs, sparklers, cupcakes and general zeal, was cemented at Pop Montreal. Toronto's Paper Bag Records caught wind of what the band was up to and asked them to open for the boys' cool big sisters, Magneta Lane, here in town later in the fall.
It all got Monks's thinking cap tuned more to bass lines than books.
"It was around that time that I started thinking, "Do I really want to be in school? Wouldn't I rather be in the band?'"
Deciding that anthropology just wasn't as captivating as rock 'n' roll, Monks came back to play the hometown show and decided to say au revoir to Montreal at the end of the semester. It must've been fate, because the day after he moved back, Paper Bag called to say it would distribute the band's EP.
That EP, A Lesson In Crime, which will be released Saturday at Sneaky Dee's, is a 16-minute herky-jerky Gravitron ride that bobbles the head and wiggles the backside with handclaps, shouts and a sharp, urgent pop ruckus at times reminiscent of Arcade Fire, Wolf Parade and Duran Duran all playing the same little stage.
It kicks off with a Batman-style theme song of sorts with the eponymous refrain "Tokyo Police Club." "That's the oldest song we still play, maybe because it's so novel," laughs Monks. "We should have a video with a logo that spins out into the camera."
With the mentorship and pal-ship of the women of Magneta Lane, the otherwise heads-down and hardworking TPC are starting to make friends and form connections with other delinquents in the indie sphere.
"Meeting so many bands, you start to see that you're not so crazy to drop out of school to be in a band. A lot of people have done it," says Monks.
And what did Monks's mom have to say about her little boy dropping out of school to pursue his dreams?
"She said, "If that's what you need to do, you should go and do that.' I have the coolest mom ever."