During Two Door Cinema Club‘s time away from the limelight, lead vocalist Alex has grown his hair out, bassist Kevin has acquired a slightly larger beard, and the band have developed their sound to incorporate a bit more funk and a bit more disco – all without losing sight of their indie-electronic roots.
Opener ‘Are We Ready (Wreck)’ enchants with hypnotic vocals before things really kick off with dancing guitar and synths. It is a strong declaration of intent, juxtaposing the TDCC that we know and appreciate with their new, improved, funkier selves. It poses a slightly more techy sound for Two Door Cinema Club, but nothing overtly distinct so as to not dissuade fans from enjoying this latest endeavour. Though the easing process is short-lived, as second track (and second single) ‘Bad Decisions’ presents a sound and style that is almost unrecognisable in the context of the band.
One concern when a band has strong influences is whether they let their influence overtake them, putting them on a both to becoming copycats at worst or a feeble homage at best. With Alex’s frequently-flaunted falsetto (arguably the biggest factor defining the band’s new sound), which edges towards Scissor Sisters sound in ‘Bad Decisions’, the worry was real. Additionally, the predictable pop-funk song structure can be grating until punctuated by chants of “generation, information” and a guitar solo to set the single apart. Fortunate, as otherwise it would be structurally indistinguishable from later track ‘Ordinary’.
Even more fortunate is that ‘Surgery’ follows soon after to offer reprise from familiar song structures, addressing the risk of every song potentially sounding the same. It’s a groovy, synthy, lick on the new 1975 sound, sitting well in the current music scene with a dancing bass line with a strong swagger, although it feels more videogame than gameshow. Lavender brings another slightly different sound to the album, far more stripped back and with a punchy step-up. The sound is ready for indie charts and indie kid bedrooms, but the chorus guitar strums jog memories of Justin Timberlake’s Rock Your Body, and in that moment I felt his music video and their album artwork were one and the same. You heard it here first.
This album overall has a particularly distinct and different sound compared to what has come before. If you shuffled up all TDCC songs, you would be able to easily say which ones belonged to Gameshow. Yes, they are confident in what Gameshow is and it’s a strong sound, especially in terms of progression and development for Two Door Cinema Club –, the Northern Ireland band attempting to position themselves as something other than posterboys for modern indie. Gameshow is the successful sound of transformation and transition for a band decidedly discontent with their perceived lot in life.