Two Door Cinema Club Tourist History Review Essay

There are certain bands that really define a certain period of your life. Maybe one of their songs soundtracked the first dance at your wedding. Maybe they remind you of the birth of your child. I am only 21 years of age and so the most important bands for me and my generation soundtracked more simple things, such as the first time you had a sip of beer (which for me was also the last). Two Door Cinema are one of those such bands for me, and the moments they soundtracked were countless underage house parties. Back in the halcyon days before everyone discovered house music or grime, the sounds accompanying the drinking of copious WKDs and Strongbow cans were Alex Trimble, Kevin Baird and Sam Halliday, singing sun-kissed songs of bliss.

With these memories in mind, I headed down to Birmingham’s O2 Academy to finally witness these iconic indie anthems live, in all their glory. I expected a large proportion of the crowd to be made up of like-minded students wanting to escape the looming threat of deadlines and be transported back to a much simpler time. However, rather than be greeted by nostalgic twenty somethings, I found myself surrounded by a horde of 14-year-old enthusiasts in the middle of experiencing what appeared to be their first live gig. Of course there is nothing wrong with this, but it did give the impression that at 21 years of age, I may have grown beyond the target market for Two Door Cinema Club. To really buy into the experience it appears one must be fresh-faced, wide-eyed and just about to start their GCSEs. The baton of the Basement People has been passed downwards to a slightly younger generation, and maybe this is for the best. Seeing the emphatic reactions of these youths towards the newest singles and comparing this to my more cynical mood, one comes to the conclusion that it is time to let this band go.

The baton of the Basement People has been passed downwards to a slightly younger generation, and maybe this is for the best

Unlike some more established acts, TDCC do not seem ashamed at all of their widely-loved debut album, and made the wise decision to open the show with a flourish of ‘Cigarettes in the Theatre’, ‘Undercover Martyn’, ‘Do You Want It All?’, ‘This Is the Life’. Opening with all-killer no filler was a real treat for the fans in attendance and transported many of us to the summer of 2011. The four tracks really are self-contained, crystallised pieces of indie-pop perfection, with each one being greeted by smiles and rapturous pogoing by both the old guard and the new disciples alike.

However, TDCC are of course more than a one album band, and after the opening nostalgia trip pushed straight into EP track ‘Changing of the Seasons’. Lead singer Trimble went full Alex Turner on this track, swaggering and swooning centre stage throughout its entirety and being much more of true frontman than we ever saw on Tourist History. Having recently released long-awaited third album Gameshow, the band were keen to show off their new disco-tinged styling, and nowhere is this more impressive than on single ‘Bad Decisions’. A real funky piece of Bee Gees-indebted, dancefloor filling music, the track performed well on the grand stage and altered the pogoing legs of the teenage audience to slinky sways and disco jives. The evening then transcended into a mishmash of new slices of funk, debut album classics (‘Something Good Can Work’ being a highlight) and the more sonically complex sounds taken from sophomore effort Beacon. The strongest of these cuts was ‘Sleep Alone’, a wonderfully melancholic take on the debut record’s formula, turning the sun-filled sounds that had made the band famous and turning them into something deeper and more reflective.

A real funky piece of Bee Gees-indebted, dancefloor filling music, the track performed well on the grand stage and altered the pogoing legs of the teenage audience to slinky sways and disco jives

Not willing to alter a winning formula, the band finished the main portion of the set with two more debut classics in the form of ‘I Can Talk’ and ‘Eat That Up, It’s Good For You’, the latter of which being a surprise, but a welcome one, and a reminder that the band seem to understand which songs their fans want to hear. Wondering off stage after a closing ‘Sun’, TDCC returned for a final flourish of Beacon’s ‘Someday’, before rolling straight into arguably their biggest anthem ‘What You Know’. The intervening years since the release of Tourist History have not been the kindest on the band’s popularity, but there is no doubting the power of the debut record’s ability to bring a smile to the faces of teenagers everywhere. The newer tracks may inspire less enthusiasm on original fans, but seeing as there is a whole new group of 14 year olds loving every minute of it, does that really matter at all?

October 18, 2016 Two Door Cinema Club – Gameshow (Album Review)

Posted at 13:57haLfie vera mellacryptic rock, CrypticRock, Music reviews, News, Reviews0 Comments

Formed in 2007, in County Down, Northern Ireland, by Alex Trimble (vocals, rhythm guitar, beats, synths), Sam Halliday (lead guitar, backing vocals), and Kevin Baird (bass, synths, backing vocals), Two Door Cinema Club caught the Indie Pop world in awe with its solid first effort, 2010’s Tourist History. Right from the start, the music of the band was already distinctly developed – best characterized by the sweet-sour guitar angularity that harked to similar styling employed by Post-Punk pioneers such as Gang of Four (“Return the Gift”), Orange Juice (“Falling and Laughing”), early Siouxsie & the Banshees (“Mirage”), and the more recent Franz Ferdinand (“Take Me Out”); and sharp and witty lyricism that may recall the wordplay and narrative antics of Jarvis Cocker of the Britpop purveyor Pulp (“Babies”); all these packaged in less-than-four-minutes sunny, upbeat, and quirky Indie Pop songs. Two Door Cinema Club’s follow-up to their all-killer debut came in 2012, in the form of the synthesizer-laden Beacon, which retained much of its predecessor’s jangly guitar excursions and dance-floor tendencies yet glossed in some corners with the sweet shininess of Synthpop and Dance-Punk.

Four years after, Two Door Cinema Club are back with a different kind of beast and a more relaxed temperament albeit with aural remnants of its predecessors. Released on October 14, 2016, the band’s third album, Gameshow, stands out with its marked change in the songs’ stylistic foundation, tempos, and instrumental structures, but the trademark cyclical and edgy guitar works are still as ubiquitous as ever. It opens with the engaging beat of “Are We Ready? (Wreck),” whose chiming and choppy guitar strums and subtle Reggae basslines connect the album to the previous ones; the initiated might hear faint echoes of The Cure’s “10:15 Saturday Night,” The Police’s “Roxanne,” and Men at Work’s “Land Down Under.” The following “Bad Decisions” and “Ordinary” are where the band gets to change its stylistic gear nostalgically; its funky groove and rhythm as well as falsetto-flavored vocal approach hark to the glittery sound of ’70s Disco in the veins of Bee Gees (“Stayin’ Alive”) and early Michael Jackson (“Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough”).

The title track will most likely become the favorite of fans who came to love Two Door Cinema Club for its Post-Punk roots; its opening bass and drum thuds drives in ominously like Joy Division’s “Transmission” and then builds up into the Gothic sensibilities of The House of Love (“Shine On”) and B-Movie (“Nowhere Girl”). “Lavender” returns the album to its mild-tempo, groovy predisposition. “Fever,” on the other hand, starts like an anthemic Glam Metal guitar instrumental that, for a few chord changes, may remind a Metal aficionado of Steve Stevens’s “Top Gun Anthem” or Steve Vai’s “For the Love of God,” only to break away instead as a shiny, strobe lit, dance-floor body swayer.

Certainly the album’s much-needed icebreaker, the pulsating “Invincible” comes across as a suave Sophisti-Pop ballad. It will fit a playlist that includes Cutting Crew’s “I’ve Been in Love Before,” Billy Idol’s “Eyes Without a Face,” Everything But the Girl’s “I Always Was Your Girl,” and even Cook da Books’ “Your Eyes.” The ensuing “Good Morning” begins in the same mood, but launches off immediately with the band’s characteristic cyclical guitar lines, staccato piano flourishes, and big drum sound. The penultimate track, “Surgery” is an exploration into Synthpop/Electroclash territory, incorporating synth-bass and using once again the power of the falsetto as well as subtle symphonic shots. Finally, Two Door Cinema Club closes Gameshow on a high note, with the Chic-inspired energy of “Je Viens De La.”

Two Door Cinema Club is definitely one of the interesting bands to ever come out of the Indie Pop scene in the 2010s. While it may be easily regarded as firmly rooted in the stylistic beginnings of the Post-Punk era, Two Door Cinema Club’s music remains fresh and current, at par with the contemporary modernity of the genre in which the band chose to express it. From Tourist History to Gameshow, Two Door Cinema Club has quickly carved its rightful place in the pantheon of Indie Pop music populated by luminaries like The Killers (“Human”) and Coldplay (“Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall”); and with the direction its members chose to take in their latest offering, it may be fair to claim that the band is just beginning to expand their musical horizons. This means that Two Door Cinema Club still has a lot more musical surprises to deliver in the coming years. CrypticRock gives Gameshow 4 out of 5 stars.


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