Two Door Cinema Club deviate from their usual sound with “Gameshow”

Two Door Cinema Club performs at Bonnaroo in 2012. The band recently released their latest album "Gameshow" on Oct. 14, 2016. (Jon Elbaz/Wikimedia, Creative Commons) 

In the indie alternative music scene, it seems like a big album is released only a few times a year. Just under a month ago Two Door Cinema Club, one of the bigger indie bands over the last five years, released their latest studio album “Gameshow”, which was subject to a great deal of criticism and praise from a number of reviewers.

Personally, my anticipation for Gameshow was immense in the months prior to its Oct. 14 release date, as Two Door Cinema Club has been one of my favorite bands over the years and hadn’t released anything since Sept. 2013.

I was especially excited when the album’s first single “Are We Ready? (Wreck)” came out in June, which began the months long wait for the full release. Upon hearing “Are We Ready?” for the first time, I instantly was reminded of the old Two Door Cinema Club sound from Tourist History and Beacon, their first two albums, which featured electronic sounds mixed in with impressive guitar solos and the soothing voice of frontman Alex Trimble.

However, that didn’t seem to be the case with much of the new album. In fact, it seemed that Two Door Cinema Club took a completely new direction compared to their older music. After its first track, “Gameshow” takes on a much more 80s synth pop vibe, with a sound that could be compared to Depeche Mode.

The second track on the album, “Bad Decisions”, especially takes on the 80s vibe with a verse of chanting “Lately/I think I’ve had enough/of generation information every station” as if to challenge the overuse of technology and social media in our generation. Similarly, the ninth track on the album, “Surgery”, reminded me of the type of music my parents listened to, challenging the views of a generation

While reverting to 80s synth pop can work extremely well in some modern music, as Daft Punk proved with their album Random Access Memories, TDCC fails to deliver on a few of the 80s sounding tracks on Gameshow. The main exceptions are “Invincible” and “Je Viens De La”, which are among my top three favorite songs on the album.

With “Invincible”, Two Door take their chances with a ballad on losing a relationship and trying to get the relationship back, and in my opinion, they really hit their target. Trimble’s lyricism along with a powerful guitar solo sound exactly as an 80s ballad should and could be played at weddings, middle school dances, and more.

“Je Viens De La”, on the other hand, is truly my favorite song on the album. While maintaining the 80s vibe that Two Door Cinema Club tries to produce with “Gameshow”, the song also features a high energy, high tempo chorus that more closely resembles the band’s older music. Furthermore, Trimble’s mellow talking voice in some verses reminds me specifically of one of my favorite older TDCC songs, “Sun”.

All in all, “Gameshow” is definitely an experimental album by Two Door Cinema Club to see if they can diversify their sound. I understand that bands like to try out new sounds and expand their fan base with more than just the same type of music. However, I’m a firm believer in the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and given how fantastic their first two albums were, “Gameshow” is a disappointing step back for Two Door.  

That said, I do really love “Je Viens De La” and a few other songs weren’t too bad so I give the album a 2.5 out of 5. I will definitely still listen to my favorites from “Gameshow” and older Two Door Cinema Club songs will keep me listening until a fourth studio album comes out, but I do hope for a better record from them in the future.


Chris Hanna is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at christopher.hanna@uconn.edu