Yes. Returning from their voluntary hiatus, Two Door Cinema Club are back and they’ve reinvented themselves as a disco infused synth-pop behemoth; or at least that was the goal. Sticking with Jacknife Lee (producer from Beacon) the boys from Bangor have decided to diverge completely from the Two Door we know. Are third albums tricky? Most likely.
The record itself is a collection of stylised disco beats and pop-synth, indebted to a genre reimagined time and again. The northern lilt present in past albums has been surrendered in lieu of Trimble’s falsetto for the most part and with it, a certain charm is given away.
The album opens with something familiar. ‘Are We Ready’ is an anthem against consumerism as Trimble sings, “wars are whoring. All the stores are bored with all your money; we follow what’s to come. That’s what they sold to me.” ‘Bad Decisions’ follows and is one of the highlights. Dripping with disco bass lines and Scissors Sisters falsetto, it’s about as close as the Two Door Cinema Club lads get to making their own stamp on the genre – a personal favourite, admittedly.
Anyway, the whole notion that the boys have gone anti-commercial is a little hard to swallow, their lyrics and song writing seem conflicted. We hear these lyrics against consumerism but laid over an album that screams “I wrote this for Radio 1”. It’s no secret that their earlier work has been immortalized by radio, adverts and compilation videos of the early half of the decade. That being said, maybe it’s exactly that which has lead to this epiphany.
The title track sits amid its peers, the black sheep, tattoos, guitars et al. It’s one of the only moments we hear a more raw vocal performance and the presence of guitars; Jacknife hinting at his old Bloc Party days. Such a beautiful, fleeting moment.
One of the biggest problems facing us with Gameshow is that we’ve been through so many revivals of past eras that it needs to be exceptional to capture our attention. How long ago did Daft Punk do something similar? Justice followed. BØRNS… HAIM…Bastille was formed during the vacuum created by TDCC’s absence and depicted the Twin Peaks generation with their own twist. Hell, even Lady GaGa & Beyoncé have hit the mark more accurately.
The ingredients are there, no doubt. ‘Invincible’ belongs in any John Hughes movie. Imagine a lovesick teen, dreamily staring out a window listening to it on a cassette; only to see their crush walk up the garden…and cue credits roll. That isn’t a criticism by any standard, in fact it’s a compliment that they can so genuinely capture the essence of a time long gone. But make no mistake, it is imitation not creation.
It’s a shame that following all the struggles of long term touring, personal issues and their hiatus that their first return lends itself to such criticism but it just isn’t quite what we need. The first and only hint of a guitar solo comes in the bonus track ‘Gasoline’ on the deluxe edition of the album. This might be a bit on the nose, but Two Door should have stuck to ‘what they know’.