TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB – Gameshow
Four years have passed since Two Door Cinema Club released their sophomore album, Beacon. In today’s world of disposable pop music, waiting four years between albums can be risky. For Two Door Cinema Club, the timing wasn’t so much an artistic choice as a physical and mental necessity after the album cycle of recording, promotion and touring Beacon pushed them to the point of exhaustion.
Returning with a refreshed outlook on music, Gameshow is a celebratory slice of modern pop culled from the same soil that The 1975 and Daft Punk have sown in recent years. It’s a musical leap of faith for older fans of Two Door Cinema Club, but Gameshow offers a more mature sound that shows ambition and an honest, sometimes self-deprecating, outlook on how music is digested in 2016.
Citing David Bowie and Prince as inspirations, the band sets an impossibly high bar artistically; but a song like “Bad Decisions” proves it a worthy ambition. The Nile Rodgers-style guitar is reminiscent of Bowie’s Let’s Dance album while the vocals and synths hint at Prince’s work on 1999. It’s a gamble for a band already stretching themselves musically, but it doesn’t feel forced. They settle into a groove that thankfully keeps the guitar alive while confidently moving deeper into electronic pop.
Whereas everyone from The 1975 to Mark Ronson have dusted off the synth-heavy, funky elements of the 1980’s, Two Door Cinema Club aren’t aiming for retro cool on Gameshow. In fact, the 80’s band they most resemble throughout this record is Duran Duran – a band few modern artists would feel safe to name drop as an influence (while everyone cannot wait to cite Joy Division’s influence on their sound). However, the English band probably best captured the uninhibited orgy of rock, funk and disco that defined the most vibrant pop music of the 1980’s – which is exactly what permeates Two Door Cinema Club’s Gameshow.
Alex Trimble sounds especially carefree throughout the album as he rises into a soaring falsetto on tracks like “Je Viens De La” and “Surgery” (which sounds like the Bee Gees covering Gary Numan). Bouncing back in the music industry isn’t easy in 2016 when your entire life is dissected on social media. Trimble sings, “You don’t need to know what everybody’s thinking” on “Bad Decisions” and laments selling his soul to television (the band’s music has appeared in commercials and video games).
While the pressure cooker of being a modern band broke them down a few years ago, Trimble has returned with a healthier outlook on how the industry uses the artist. This awareness translates as musical confidence and a willingness to go where other bands might hesitate to venture for fear of the backlash on Twitter. In doing so, Two Door Cinema Club prove on Gameshow that you don’t have to abandon your soul when you plug in a synth.