The second half of Tokyo Police Club's EP Melon Collie and the Infinite Radness is here, meaning five more sickly sweet, straightforwardly structured songs. Unfortunately, any hope of this half improving upon the first, or presenting something new, has been completely erased here, just as any sign of rock and roll has been carefully scrubbed out of their music via pop sensibilities and squeaky-clean production.
Technically, Part 2 has got it all — sing-along choruses, hand claps, whoa-ohs, hey-ohs — but it feels devoid of personality and substance; these songs sparkle, but not necessarily in a good way. They'll appeal to a certain crowd, and will soundtrack shopping malls and food courts, and maybe that's the point here. But for anyone whose ears perked up at their earlier work (slightly edgy and certainly fun — genuinely so) will find this collection of tunes hard to stomach.
Anyone waiting for something on Part 2 to balance out the sentimental schmaltz here shouldn't hold their breath. "Vertigo" could be a neat metaphor for life, love or fame until you realize it's far too literal to really apply; "Awesome Day" seems absolutely catered to the pre-teen crowd ("I don't know what's right, and I don't know what's wrong, and I don't know what side of the bed I'm supposed to wake up on / But if you have to go, and if I have to stay, just give me one more awesome day!"), which is interesting given that the band are hardly the teens that made A Lesson in Crime.
Again, perhaps that's the point — appealing to youth in order to feel young, too. But there's a way to do that that doesn't involve the simple and saccharine. This formulaic approach has worked before, but the fun here comes across as forced and a tad phony.
There are a few standout moments, like "Hang Your Heart," which has a somewhat memorable guitar hook and takes a few interesting turns, but unfortunately, some of the more musically experimental (and I say that very lightly) tunes can't escape from under the layers of sugary sentiment. People like sweetness, so many are going to devour Melon Collie and the Infinite Radness (Part 2). Personally, it gives me a toothache. (Dine Alone)