Two Door Cinema Club: “False Alarm” (Album Review)

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Two Door Cinema Club in a promotional photo; Photo courtesy of their official website

The Northern Irish trio have reinvented themselves and their sound over and over again while learning to embrace the mainstream sounds and taking creative experimental and fun risks on their fourth studio album.

10 years ago, Northern Irish indie rock band Two Door Cinema Club released their debut album Tourist History. And now a decade later, their latest record False Alarm sounds new, bold, exciting, fun and most importantly, experimental. The artwork itself is a remarkably new venture for the trio with a highly stylized, kitschy and filmic album cover that represents the sort of artistry and theme that runs throughout the visuals and sound of the album. Over the course of four studio albums, the trio have successfully been able to hide from the fame and live their lives as regular, ordinary people while their music quietly rose to the upper echelons of the UK indie scene (although they currently have one tour stop at London’s O2 Arena – a feat many would consider amazing for an indie band).

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False Alarm Studio Album featuring the trio

False Alarm is all about experimentation and playing with different vocals and instrumental effects; as much as they play around with these aspects, they never take away from the albums main messages and themes they explore about love, fun and the maturation of life. They blend sounds of synthpop, electrofunk and psychedelic genres to form a new sound. Tracks “So Many People” and “Already Gone” sound very similar to the contemporary works by Tame Impala and Phoenix. “Break” sounds very similar to the early career day works of Cage the Elephant. It is these sorts of tracks that elevate the album to the next level – they all sound completely different and are uniquely interesting thematically. The trio have learned the tropes of Music Industry success and are ahead of the curve. Nothing about the album is predictable. Each song spins a genre-defying web of its own from both the past and the future creating an iconic and one of a kind style that appeals to many different generations.

But showing off this kind of versatility doesn’t mean that each song has completely be innovative. The album opening tracks “Once” and “Talk” give fans the festival-ready hooks both taking inspiration from ’80s in terms of style and substance. “Nice to See You,” which features Zimbabwe’s Afrofusion-punk Mokoomba is one of the most interesting tracks that the band has created and definitely a big departure from the sort of music they’ve made. The other collaboration on the album with Chicago rapper Open Mike Eagle brilliantly accentuates what would otherwise be another synth-pop serenade. Both tracks do not feel forced at all and in fact are a welcomed addition to the trio’s discography.

Besides the sonic range of the new experimentation the band takes on, the lyrics are quite extraordinary compared to some of their previous efforts. The band tends to pick up on various problems that are associated with the millennial generation and they continue to address them through their tracks. They heavily explore society’s obsession with celebrities, media and materialism throughout the album. And perhaps what is most remarkable is Trimble’s vocals who takes on a wider vocal range of influences (you can hear Duran Duran and David Bowie influences of 1980s music). The vocal presence he takes on changes from song to song as you progress through the record and that is definitely a characteristic of strong musician and talented artist.

Two Door Cinema House have curated an important album for the time we are living in. It asks society to question their decisions by drawing on the beauty of the generations before them. The many risks and experimentation are very much welcomed for a band that constantly looks to reinvent themselves with their sonic range and lyrics. It is a loose record that is equally ambitious and lively as it is authentic. At the end of the day what is most remarkable is the embracing of the mainstream sound and culture of the music industry by a popular indie group and the fact that they don’t let those attributes ruin or distort their artistry and craft. Their music is big but their sound is even bigger.

JAKKAWI: B

Essential Track(s): “Talk”, “Satisfaction Guaranteed” (featured Mokoomba), “Satellite”

Music Video for single “Talk” (All rights and music owned by Two Door Cinema Club, PIAS, Kobalt)
Released: June 21, 2019.
Genre(s): Indie rock, indie pop, dance-punk.
Label: PIAS, Prolifica.
Featured Artist(s): Mokoomba, Open Mike Edge.
Tour: IGOR World Tour (as of publishing) as well as various festivals [Glastonbury - UK; Festivalpark Werchter - Belgium; Summer Sonic - Japan; Deichbrand - Germany; Blue Balls - Switzerland]
Vinyl Edition: Yes - through various outlets (as of publishing).

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