By Jack Holmes
“The two biggest influences for me were Prince and Bowie – both total pioneers who straddled that line between out-there pop and avant-garde craziness”, Two Door Cinema Club’s Alex Trimble explained to Official Charts.com. The singer was discussing his bands new album Gameshow, and the single being released at the time Are We Ready? (Wreck). It’s almost surreal reading those words having listened to the full Gameshow album.
Two Door Cinema Club are a mainstream indie rock band, there’re no two ways about it. They’ve appeared on advertisements for Vodafone and were featured in the Fifa 13 soundtrack, the idea that Two Door has in any way ever contrasted mainstream music or the system is difficult to contemplate. Never the less within the system the Irish trio had released two great albums with Tourist History in 2010 and Beacon in 2012, offering up catchy blends of synth, indie and pop. Gameshow was described as a move into the “avant-garde”, but in reality, just sees them strip the joy from their older work and take on an oddly preachy tone that’s not fun, relatable, and even difficult to dance to, something that’s sad to say about a Two Door album.
Take the single Trimble was describing when he set out his vision for Gameshow. Are We Ready? (Wreck) appears to be a finger pointing from the band to the mainstream public, lines such like “And all the stores are bored with all your money” and “Oh, what’s it gonna take? There’s always something else” are the anti-corporate literate of just about every band that takes a break to “get in touch with their individual sound”. It comes across as powerfully unlikeable, once a simple fun soundtrack for the people, the new role of anticorporate, spiritual gurus doesn’t suit a band that’s appeared in multiple Hollister and Debenhams adverts.
All would be overlooked if Gameshow was half as catchy as its predecessors, however, that’s largely not the case. Exceptions include the track Gameshow, that captures some of the energetic fun of their first two albums but largely it feels a little soulless. The usual frantic bouncing that was encouraged by their tracks has been replaced with a kind of sway-inducing synth that largely makes little to no impression. Tracks such as Lavender and Surgery sound like Gotye rejected B-sides, with whatever experimental artistic song creation that the trio had aimed for lacking throughout.
Gameshow has one or two singles that might be worth a quick listen, but overall misses the mark. Fans of the Beacons and Tourist History will struggle to adopt Gameshow into their fold, coming across as a parental lecture on what good music sounds like from a group that have spent a little too much time trying to envision modern music, and not enough time writing good songs that their thousands of fans could have enjoyed.