Release Date: Oct 14, 2016
Record label: Parlophone
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Ireland's Two Door Cinema Club transform into a glitzy disco and synth pop-infused powerhouse on their third studio album, 2016's Gameshow. Having garnered favorable attention for their infectious, dance-rock-heavy 2010 debut, Tourist History, the trio of singer/guitarist/programmer Alex Trimble, guitarist/singer Sam Halliday, and bassist/singer Kevin Baird immediately began expanding their sound on their follow-up, 2012's Beacon. However, where that album found them maturing with a softer musical palette and weightier emotionalism, Gameshow is a dynamic shift away from the buoyantly kinetic guitar-based approach of their first two albums.
Two Door Cinema Club’s second album, Beacon, was a record that, to borrow the famous assessment of David Frost, rose without trace. It reached No 2 in the UK charts and sold 100,000 copies. Previously an inconspicuous, poppy, synth-heavy, putatively alternative rock band whose reviews seemed to deal almost exclusively in faint praise (“A less po-faced Foals”), the County Down trio were transformed into an inconspicuous, poppy, synth-heavy, putatively alternative rock band operating at a level of popularity where arenas are filled with ease and so long can be taken to make a follow-up that it starts being referred to as a comeback.
Few chart bothering records this year will emerge from a bleakness that could rival ‘Gameshow’’s. Borne of depression, alcoholism, near implosion and hospitalisation – it’s hardly your typical popstar’s diary entry, but it’s from that rocky standing that Two Door Cinema Club stake their claim to return as indie-pop royalty.Things have, obviously, moved on – while Two Door were in the ether, The 1975 became the unstoppable behemoth of 80s-indebted guitar music they are today; Foals leapfrogged Alex Trimble and co. to certified Big Deal headliner status.
Gameshow is Two Door Cinema Club’s difficult third album, the kind of left turn a band must take because they just can’t afford to stagnate after releasing two good but largely similar records. The success of Beacon in 2012 left longtime friends and bandmates Alex Trimble, Sam Halliday, and Kevin Baird at a personal and creative crossroads, and when they reconvened in 2015 to create Gameshow, they set off on a decidedly different track: ’80s nostalgia. Contemporary listeners are no strangers to the retro revival of neo-soul, disco, and funk, a movement Daft Punk pulled off perfectly on Random Access Memories.
Making a shimmery pop album seems like the natural progression for Two Door Cinema Club, a band that's apparently been chomping at the bit to go full nu-disco for the last three years. While their previous albums were constructed like laser-guided missiles of high-octane alt-rock fired from Ireland in an attempt at world domination, Gameshow finds the trio really leaning into the warm embrace of pop music. Dripping in falsetto and awash in synths, their latest attempt is painfully lacking in the refreshingly hyperactive guitar riffs that made their debut so memorable.
??They say a change is as good as a rest. Two Door Cinema Club have taken both just for good measure before their third album Gameshow. The world is pretty messed up. We have bands like TDCC working so relentlessly in the industry rat race that they are driven to stomach ulcer-inducing levels of anxiety, requiring complete life detoxes to re-balance their lives’ as humans, let alone musicians.