Two Door Cinema Club’s third album comes after a four year hiatus following the success of their second offering, ‘Beacon’. There have been internal tensions to untangle, space to be created and enjoyed, and reflections to be made upon their considerable successes. However, the break has not diminished their popularity – the recently announced tour sold out very swiftly.
The Irish trio have followed the likes of Kaiser Chiefs and progressed from an early indie sound to a pop sound. This album has a feel of the Eighties with its heavy and sometimes squealing synth base, combined with a sometimes overused and squealing falsetto. Move over Scissor Sisters. It explores the themes of the modern bane of consumerism and social media – everyone is both victim and complicit enabler of these, so we are easy targets for scolding.
‘Are We Ready? (Wreck)’ is an odd album opener, backed by what sounds like a group of bored ten year olds singing ‘Na na na na na na na na’ and a slightly unnerving change of pace. It picks up from then on. ‘Bad Decisions’ is a very catchy and melodic track, referring to singer Alex Trimble’s alcohol issues, ‘Save me, I’ve been drinking wine, And I just made a big mistake, Happens all the time.’ In fact, when it comes to lyrics, the guys aren’t mean – there’s plenty of them and they don’t resort to repetitious short cuts. ‘Ordinary’ is even more catchy and the chorus is very funky and Level 42-ish. Then title track ‘Gameshow’ is the indie-est on the album with prominent bass and drums, introducing an extravagant and energetic song which bounces along. There are some moments which stray from disco-funk, but ‘Lavender’, ‘Invincible’ and ‘Good Morning’ are in truth a little turgid, and it’s good to get back to the disco of ‘Surgery’, the opening synth line of which is reminiscent of Donna Summer’s ‘State Of Independence’.
To be honest, this slightly anonymous and generic pop music is what the current market seems to like and fits alongside Bastille and The 1975 very snugly. There are undoubtedly some decent and catchy tunes, but it doesn’t really feel like a product of substance.