As hiatuses go, Northern Irish band Two Door Cinema Club’s four-year gap between ‘Beacon’ and their newest release has been one of careful introspection, and a break from the self-admitted difficulties of creative tension that Trimble, Halliday and Baird experienced post-2012. Whether or not this has enhanced their spark for concocting effervescent lyrics and melodic indie-pop is to be shown by their new album ‘GameShow’. Appropriately, the nostalgic tones of “Tourist History” and the moodier, emotive “Beacon” are complemented by the fearless retro charm and fizz on show here – a trifecta of distinctive flavors that now cement the band’s status.
What devotees to TDCC’s brand have enjoyed and come to expect is still wired into the spine of the album; there is no revolution, but an evolution of what the band have honed since formation. Digging into the meat of ‘Are We Ready? (Wreck)’, ‘Bad Decisions’ and the title track erases the cynicism, thankfully – a brio of fast-and-loose electronica and 80s influenced rock with Trimble’s vocals anchoring the aural experience. For acolytes of the band it’s a shameless sugar hit, with irresistible swagger and rhythm.
Supporting this are a combination of deep funk-infused and eclectic dance pieces – frontman Alex Trimble has made no secret of Bowie and Prince’s influence on the album, and while you get a sense of homage, they don’t dare tread into direct plagiarism. Similarly, Sam Halliday’s work on lead guitar is outstanding, mirroring the vocals’ sparkle effortlessly, smoothly and vibrantly. The trio’s craft is evident on the buildup to ‘Invincible’: Trimble’s vocals dominate the intro before the instrumentation erupts elegantly and slowly into electronic riffs and synth beats that compliment the frontman’s sweeping falsetto. Destined to be the album’s underrated gem, it offsets the contrasting all-out dance beat of ‘Je Viens De La’ and ‘Fever’.
In releasing ‘Gameshow’ at a time when the indie-pop and retro-pop genres are still flying under the radar, the Bangor group have reminded listeners the distinctive sound of their work is far from stagnating. While TDCC still have to produce a truly great album, their third holds up as a tremendous production; ballsy and funky, while still upbeat and fearless, it crackles with night-time energy destined to send any indie disco alight. Evolution, not revolution remains the key, and the boys’ break has crafted one of the most distinctive albums of the autumn.