I will be the first to admit that I was late to the Two Door Cinema Club party. I had only heard their most popular song, “What You Know,” and I was not a fan.
However, after persistence from a friend, I caved and listened to their other tracks over the summer, and I became obsessed. Their third full-length album, “Gameshow,” was just released, and while it diverges from the characteristic Two Door sound, it is important that artists continue to show growth.
Two Door Cinema Club is an Irish band that blends indie rock and pop. Its members include Alex Trimble, Sam Halliday and Kevin Baird, and each member sings and plays a motley of instruments.
Their first album, “Tourist History,” was released in 2010 and contains some of their most popular tracks. “What You Know,” “Undercover Martyn” and “Something Good Can Work” launched the group into the indie scene.
Their second album, “Beacon,” was released in 2012 and has a similar sound to their debut. The record contains personal favorites of mine, “Next Year” and “Sleep Alone.”
After the release of an EP entitled “Changing of the Seasons” in 2013, the band went quiet for a while. In early 2016, though, they announced that new music would be coming and played a string of festivals over the summer. I started listening at this time, and couldn’t wait for more music.
However, after the release of the album’s promotional single, “Are We Ready (Wreck),” I was confused. The sound was completely different and resembled nothing that I had grown accustomed to listening to.
Two Door is a band that continues to progress rather than produce repetitive hits like other bands in the industry. They have cited Prince, David Bowie, Miguel and Kanye West as influences on the record, and it can definitely be heard in “Are We Ready.”
The band’s frontman, Alex Trimble, discussed how he felt dissatisfied from this generation, which can definitely be heard in the track’s lyrics.
Trimble sings, “Oh we’ve made a mistake. We’ve lost our minds. We’ve lost our memory. Oh, what’s it gonna take? There’s always something else / Waiting on the shelf.” Trimble is rebelling against the materialistic nature of people in this generation and their reliance on consumerism.
A lack of connection with this generation is a continual theme on “Gameshow.” The album sounds like a late ’70s disco record with accompanying guitar solos and rock sounds. I don’t believe that any artists in the alternative industry have done anything close to this, and I respect the band for diverging from mainstream culture.
While the change may not pay off in “Are We Ready,” the band’s newfound sound works well in “Bad Decisions.” The track appears to sound disco, yet I could also see it as a rock version of Daft Punk’s style. The synth-pop sound in combination with rock instrumentals contributes to making the track one of the best songs on the record.
Trimble utilizes his upper vocal register much more often in “Gameshow” than in any previous work. When he sings “I’m addicted to you / I make bad decisions,” it sounds like he is screeching, but, in a way, that works for the song. While it can come off as sinousy on the song and on other parts of the record, I think it is a worthwhile risk and shows how talented the singer truly is.
Personally, the song I enjoy the most and I could see becoming a single is “Ordinary.” It has a similar sound to past albums while also expressing its late-’70s influences that are featured throughout the record. The song highlights the band’s new direction and details attempting to cover up excessive behavior.
In a way, they are pretending that they are not celebrities, or at least in the alternative community. In the chorus, Trimble urges, “Go ahead, just cover it up. Let’s pretend we’re ordinary. We could be in heaven but it’s never enough. It’s mine. If the world’s so mysterious, how can we be ordinary?”
“Je Viens De La,” which translates to “I come from there,” is another track that successfully combines the band’s previous sound with its new influences.
Trimble uses his upper register throughout the chorus and it is reinforced with synth-pop instrumentals. He cries out, “So tell me something / Show me the world I’m searching for and take me home. I saw just one thing / All that I could say before I’m gone.”
The rest of the album fails to achieve what “Bad Decisions,” “Ordinary” and “Je Viens De La” do so successfully. The tracks are repetitive, forgetful and sometimes even uncomfortable to listen to.
“Gameshow” feels like it is moving too fast and lacks the substance that usually accompanies a Two Door Cinema Club song. Trimble sounds like he is screaming throughout the track, and I find listening to it to be unbearable. Tracks like “Fever” are not nearly as bad, but the song sounds like a derivative of “Bad Decisions” in a lower register.
While “Gameshow” does not live up to the hype of past albums, I believe that it shows that the band is not afraid to be different and try something new.
In a time where many bands continue to produce repetitive, top-40 hits, I am ecstatic that one of the most prevalent bands in the alternative industry continues to attempt to reshape themselves.
I hope that, in the future, they learn to better combine their older influences with the alternative pop/rock vibes that have established them as mainstays in the music industry.