Review Summary: Unlike previous efforts “Gameshow” exposes an electronic side of Two Door Cinema Club that they haven’t deeply explored before and although this might be the most “mainstream” they’ve ever sounded, they still manage to create a defining additi
After 3 years without any new music we’ve all been biting our nails in anticipation for something new to come out of the incredible Irish indie pop band Two Door Cinema Club. In 2013 they released an EP after a short hiatus entitled “Changing of the Seasons” which displayed a change of sound from the previous work “Beacon.” “Beacon” was in no way a “bad” album but it definitely felt like it could be “Tourists’” less successful brother. It’s hard to listen to an album that poorly reflects previous efforts because it just makes you want to listen to the better of the two. So, going back to 2013 with the “Seasons EP,” when Two Door decided to try a new approach, it sparked plenty of attention.
“Changing of the Seasons” embraced much more synthesizer elements which added Synthpop to their long list of genres and caused ears to perk up in anticipation for what’s to follow. On their third installment, 3 years later, “Gameshow” stays true to that shift in tone and comes fully equipped with plenty of bells and whistles to push their sound to new heights. The real question is then, “did it work in their favor?”
Simply put, no would be the correct answer, but it also doesn’t push fans away either. Embracing an electronic addition seems to be the current trend when considering main stream music and its blatantly obvious that this is exactly where it took them. But alas, Two Door still find ways to disregard that and come out with a strong album, filled with plenty of catchy guitar play, tons of groovy bass lines, and at the end of the day, they are as fun and danceable as ever.
Kicking off the album with “Are We Ready? (Wreck)” was a most sensible selection considering it’s the truest to their form, all the while, introducing us to their improved sound. In the bridge to the chorus Two Door hits us with that infectious guitar melody that we can never get out of our heads but throughout the song and more prominently at the end, we get a heavy buildup of bass booms which take us to an epic finale of the pre-chorus and chorus overlapping over that undeniably addictive guitar. Following that, we got the track “Bad Decisions” which beat sounds like it came directly off a new Tame Impala record. This song is the biggest stand-out when referring to a change in sound; nothing they’ve ever done sounds like this, nor the rest of the album.
The title track “Gameshow” has Trimble almost yelling in the chorus, surrounded by a driving bass line that is consistent throughout the record over whining heavily distorted guitar riffs. The song talks about the pressures of being in the music industry, which takes them lyrically to a new level. Most of their early material focuses on individual issues (relationships, break-ups, being yourself, getting yourself out there) whereas this new piece has much more universal themes and narratives that reach out for an overall more meaningful work
Halfway through we get “Lavender,” one of my personal favorite songs off this record, with plenty of loud clapping to emphasize the bombastic acoustic guitar in the chorus which may bring your mind to bands such as “The XX.” Disco music dances its way into the spotlight plenty of times throughout but never more noticeable then on “Fever” which has a chorus buildup that sounds like it time traveled right out the 70’s, which is then juxtaposed next to a chorus that sounds like it jumped right off present day mainstream radio.
Overall, this album was a success and no fan will be turned away, but all the same it leaves worries as to what the future holds. This is about as mainstream as they can get without abandoning that charming sound that their loved for. But hey, “Gameshow” is proof that they know how to make music, taking from the big picture only what works for them and not everyone else.