Some bands love to bring the groove forward. One of the most effective bands who strive for that is Two Door Cinema Club, here in 2016 with their followup to 2012's sophomore Beacons, entitled Gameshow.
The band hit it big right from the start, the single 'What You Know' from their debut record Tourist History becoming a pop hit. The Irish trio have since then stripped back some of their energetic drive, ushering them into a more refined, groovy sound that forms the foundations of Gameshow.
The groove kicks off immediately with 'Are We Ready? (Wreck)' with the infectious guitars and bass getting you moving right on the first track. Even the vocals have a certain swagger to them that makes you want to get up and move around. Big drama fills the chorus to give it some tension, too. Similar vibes carry to title track 'Gameshow', its reckless abode pairing with a big, crazy attack gives it a sweet drive. 'Lavender' follows up with a similar thickness. The lovely melodies are paired with a subtle vocoder that whispers behind Alex Trimble's infectious voice. The guitar and synth punches in the chorus really give it an extra sense of optimism and energy.
Electronics play an important role on this record. Synths make their way into nearly every song, whether its background or lead. Often times, they contain some strong nostalgia with them, such as in 'Fever', as the dreamy synths wash over bluesy guitar before taking on an 80s soundscape, complete with strings et al. Closure track 'Je Viens De Là' also has a nostalgic atmosphere, a mix of disco and 80s flair blending to one funky conclusion. The choruses are generally simplistic before elements build into dancey synths and guitar chords. The aesthetic of the album is accurately portrayed through the synths of 'Ordinary', paired with a glitchy aspect that makes it fresh. The fat bass synth punches in 'Bad Decisions' and 'Surgery' also add to that vibe, the drive of 'Good Morning' and its great lyrics doing much the same.
An issue that seems to repeat throughout the record is that the band doesn't really know what to prioritize and what to put in the background. There are tracks like 'Surgery' that blend indie rock and 80s nostalgia seamlessly, complete down to the brim with a chill solo that satisfies both genres. They seem to want to be The 1975 too much on this record, but they haven't gotten that balance of funk and indie appeal. An example is 'Invincible' - the pizzaz is all in the background, leaving the more underwhelming portions starkly in the front of all the action. The guitar is good but it's almost lost amongst the synths.
Two Door Cinema Club are still on the road of solidifying this sound of theirs. It's getting there, but Gameshow is that final crossroad. You can hear the gradual understanding of their own sound and ideas in the record, and it's bound to show off in the next record. Gameshow stands on its own as a good album, nonetheless - it just lacks that cohesion that could've bumped it up one step further. We'll be drowning in funk for days with this one, though, so there's no need to rush.
Favorite Tracks: Lavender, Gameshow, Surgery
Least Favorite Track: Invincible
Rating: 78 / 100