Review: Gameshow – Two Door Cinema Club25th October 2016
Yes, it’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for, holding our baited breath for many a long year. Two Door Cinema Club are back. Perhaps pushed into action after the capitulation of their rival club – the Bombay Bicycle (a grudge which was said to equal Bullingdon vs Piers Gav) – Two Door has released their first album since 2012.
Indeed, the continuing survival of Two Door, while contemporaries like the aforementioned Bombay and the estimable The Maccabees, perhaps represents an attempt on their part to push into the “cool indie band” territory currently occupied by Bastille and The 1975. And it’s true, Two Door do have the same high-streaming hallmarks of their younger brothers – What You Know has a cool 112 million hits on Spotify. But 2012’s disappointing Beacon did not deliver in the hits chart, and without a hit, what good does a band like Two Door serve?
2012’s disappointing Beacon did not deliver in the hits chart, and without a hit, what good does a band like Two Door serve?
Luckily they’re not short on hits with this new release. ‘Bad Decisions’ is a funky piece of kit, following in the disco trend rebooted by Daft Punk on Random Access Memories, all glitchy synths and high falsetto. Admittedly, it falls apart at the end as ‘Generation Information’ is slowly shouted by a monotonous chorus, like a teenager who’s just read 1984. Perhaps ‘Bad Decisions’ is a comment on the Brexit vote after all?
The album’s opener, ‘Are We Ready (Wreck)?’, is also a clearly political message regarding the misfortunes of June’s vote, with a children’s choir ala ‘Another Brick in the Wall (Part Two)’ shouting the brutal, ‘Na na na na na na na na’. As frontman Alex Trimble says, “Oh, we’ve made a mistake/We’ve lost our minds” you realise that you are in the presence of a significant socio-political thinker. I don’t know what the answers are, but I know Trimble’s got them. Indeed, Trimble’s Remain credentials are clear: in an interview with NME at Glastonbury he attributed Brexit to the large numbers of, “backwards-thinking old people”. Isn’t that a tautology, Alex?
Meanwhile ‘Je Viens De La’, another disco infused number, literally means, ‘I Come From There’, which can be only taken as a Europhilic statement of Trimble’s dedication to the Continent. Touché, Trimble, touché. Pretenious name apart (and, thank goodness, he doesn’t attempt to sing the song in French. He knows he’s not arty enough), this is a real high point of the album, with a guitar lick which could come from The Isley Brothers, and a grooving bassline.
So Gameshow has the hits to match Bastille and co, so in one respect they can join their companions as a ‘big band’. But what’s even more strikingly similar is the lack of interesting material in between those hits. You get the impression that the songs around the singles were merely a process Two Door unwillingly had to go through to get their music released. The song ‘Ordinary’ is…well, it would be too easy, while ‘Invincible’ could be a George Michael B-side. The middle part of the album floats by doing nothing in particular and leaving no impression whatsoever. Despite taking four years, Two Door delivered barely forty minutes of music, and a lot of that is filler.
So Gameshow has the hits to match Bastille and co… but what’s even more strikingly similar is the lack of interesting material in between those hits.
There’s a really excellent five track EP here, something which you could say about the respective Bastille and The 1975 releases. As an LP though, Gameshow reminds me of the TV programme Pointless. Yes, ultimately there’s some thoughtful innovation – something we haven’t seen before on previous TV shows – and some real high points when the question boards are revealed and you get to guess the answers. But over forty minutes, there’s so much filler where we get to meet contestants we don’t particularly care about and will instantly forget. Gameshow’s not going to get a second series.