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Tokyo Police Club: Champ (Mom + Pop) 

We need a great summer album to kick off 2010's hot sprawl—and Champ is it. Tokyo Police Club even sings about letting their hair down while "gone to the coast ... out on the beach" on "Gone," a track that recalls the best of They Might Be Giants. On an indie-rock family tree, adorable singer/bassist David Monks may be rendered as a sprig on the Stephen Malkmus limb, which itself diverges at some point from the Linell/Flansburgh bough.

Monks flirts via his enunciations of "lonely" and "hopeless" on "Big Difference," then shuffles us back to humid summer afternoons of cheap beer and neighborhood basements on "End of a Spark," a burst of nostalgia that lionizes "nights we spent in backs of cars." It's power-pop with a dirty skronk to it, mean as a reckless courtship. On "Hands Reversed," the bass drum is a lush beating heart; Monks sings, "You were always the first."

On the album's most resounding dance track, "Bambi," he drunkenly discovers "a tiny kingdom at the bottom of the trees." The song's spooky disco trill becomes a blaring Klaxon in the chorus; noise begets melody.

Champ is cherry lip balm, SPF 15, wine coolers on ice, Ray-Bans, overripe peaches and Italian ice. It's the best new album you'll sing every word to in the car, which will make you happy enough to forget yourself and talk to that boy or girl at the party. When sneaking out of their room at 4 a.m., thank Tokyo Police Club, please.

More by Sean Bottai

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