By Sanam Parwani, ’19
After a nearly four-year break, Irish indie rock band Two Door Cinema Club released its long awaited album on Oct. 14. The band, which began making demos of its tracks in a room above a garage, released its first album Tourist History in 2010, and released its second album Beacon soon thereafter. The band’s latest album titled Gameshow reflects a transformed band, featuring ominous lyrics set to an unfamiliar music style that strays from Two Door Cinema Club’s typical guitar riffs and pure vocals.
The computerized,’80s disco funk style featured in Gameshow takes some time to adjust to, but there’s no denying that the group’s third album gives fans a fresh look at the transformation of band members Alex Trimble, Sam Halliday, and Kevin Baird. Trimble’s usual ringing vocals and messages take a back seat under the overpowering computerized synths featured in the album. Trimble spends most of the songs in an auto-tuned falsetto which lacks the charisma that made fans fall in love with in previous albums, The album has its highlights where fans get a peek into the new path TDCC is carving for itself. “Are We Ready (Wreck),” features an electric guitar along with a powerful drum beat that speaks to the band members new ideas after their time apart, while “Bad Decisions” begins with a euphoric guitar solo that will remind fans of the Two Door Cinema Club they used to know.
One characteristic of the band’s previously chart topping music still stands in Gameshow: the danceability. The electronic dance anthems will compel fans to boogie and time travel back to the age of disco fever, making Gameshow an exciting album to hear live. Fans will have no trouble chanting the repetitive lyrics, which have an underlying theme of discontent with our consumerist society in the age of technology.
The lyrics in Gameshow stand out from the monotonous pop chants that can be heard on the radio, making words the most memorable factor of an otherwise unoriginal album. After an abrupt break, lyrics for the new album are personal messages from the personal and stylistic crossroads the band was at after its second album. “We pretty much despised one another by the end,” Trimble said. In “Are We Ready (Wreck)” the lines “you should be comfortable, don’t think at all” and “you get paid, don’t need any respect” reflect their their irritation with the nonstop touring. Each band member spent these past years in different countries “learning how to live again,” so decisions for the third album were made entirely over email, which may be one of the reasons Gameshow lacks the cohesion and unity the band is known for.
So yes, if the album’s goal was to get a crowd up and dancing, Two Door Cinema Club achieved it. And yes, the lyrics are more purposeful than TDCC’s older hits. But after two albums of brilliance, Gameshow’s repetitive, computerized sound falls short. Nevertheless, after facing alcoholism, deteriorating mental health, and disagreements during the Beacon tour, it’s a relief to see Two Door Cinema Club back on its feet. While Two Door Cinema Club should be praised for its lyrics, recovery, and attempt to shake up their sound, Gameshow doesn’t reach the musical genius that its previous albums claimed.