Two Door Cinema Club - Gameshow
by Alex Mansfield
When Two Door Cinema Club finally emerged from their three year hiatus with their first new track Are We Ready? (Wreck), the initial reaction was of hype and wonder. The trio of Alex Trimble, Sam Halliday and Kevin Baird had finally come up with something new and original. It was still the unmistakably Two Door vocals with a little distortion, still the catchy riffs and still their punchy sentiment yet seasoned with even more synths than convention. For years, sceptics have singled the band’s monotonous sound, especially with their first album Tourist History. However, throughout the debut, it was indeed simple and samey, the band had a niche of pure, stripped back vocals, refreshingly inspirational guitar, agreeable synths topped with a jovial charm. Moving onto album two, Beacon and, although they matured with more production, increased synths and more complicated instrumental concoctions, the album thematically felt a little messy, lack coherence and many still criticised the lack of difference.
Here with their long awaited third album Gameshow and one certainly can’t ignore the change. Aside from Trimble’s vocals, the band has seemingly taken a time machine back to the 70s and 80s and have returned bearing funky basslines and an overabundance of swelling synths. It’s a shock to say the least, as they sound like a completely different band. From the once Bloc Party moshable flair, now are far more reminiscent of the disco sways and struts of Prince, Bowie and the Beegees. There has been a lot of talk from the likes of Trump about the good old days of yesteryear, but having listened to this album, there are certainly elements that have died for a reason.
I am sorry but the synths on Gameshow are just too much, the riffs are more forgettable and the distorted vocals to Trimble’s already screeching vocals and too many times the blend is incomprehensible to anyone who cares to listen to the lyrics, especially on Bad Decisions and Je Viens De La. However it is still a very groovy listen most of the time with a fantastic selection of singles and a surprise ballad thrown in with Invincible, a welcomed and novel addition to the Two Door repertoire. Another noticeable trend is how politically driven much of the album is with: Are We Ready?’s take on hyper-consumerism, Gameshow’s critique of hysteria with fame, Good Morning’s attack on brain-numbing organised religion and Bad Decision’s mockery of the social media era. That most of these address the problems of globalisation and a changing world, alongside the usage of older music, enforces the desire to return to a simpler time. This ironically makes the album feel even more chaotic. This new sound is a bit tedious after a while and arguably more so than in Tourist History. It is a very interesting listen but in terms of enjoyment I would still recommend their previous work or listen to a band like Phoenix for an improved version of this genre.