In a sentence:
Two Door Cinema Club’s fourth album ‘False Alarm’ sees them effortlessly turn the same indie-pop bop-along tricks – but it becomes grating after a short time.
It’s easy to run into some difficulty when trying to make
sense of what seems to be a burgeoning indie comeback in 2019. Besides the
obvious people on the frontlines of this phenomenon, many of whom you’ll run
across countless times on the patronisingly mistitled and non-indicatory “Women
in Indie” playlists on every corporate streaming platform, there seems to be a
fair few bands that were once snidely deemed “indie landfill” making comeback
records, their names consistently popping up on promotional leaflets for
reasonably large venues, seeing which makes you actually feel like you’re in
2011. Two Door Cinema Club may possibly
be the most accelerated nostalgia-inducing of them all, with hits like ‘What You Know’ and ‘Undercover Martyn’ from
their excellent 2010 debut Tourist History being
etched into the memory of millions of easily excitable indie party attendees.
While they definitely entered the scene putting their strong
foot forwards, with nearly all of the songs off of Tourist History containing some of the catchiest and most ecstatic
guitar instrumentals amongst their endless indie peers, Two Door Cinema Club
seemed to come into more and more doubt about their identity with each
subsequent release. 2012’s Beacon was the slightly
less charming and endearing twin of Tourist
History, while on 2016’s Gameshow
the band seemed to try and display some oddly meta self-awareness, by
incorporating electronica into their hooks and singing of nostalgia and the
oh-so-depleted subject of “Social Media Bad”, to varyingly fun results. Now, on
False Alarm, the band seem to be
continuing down the path laid out by their previous release. It not only
dabbles in electronica, it might actually might pass off more as an
electro-funk (sidenote, do genres still mean anything anymore?) project than an
indie rock one.
Certainly, 2DCC still retain their impeccable talent – to the
extent that it’s possibly a curse – of writing the most effortlessly
dancefloor-ready hook each time they lay a hand on a major key (all the time).
The trouble with False Alarm comes
when the band seemingly try to be experimental, only to have their bop
sensibilities derail any attempt at standing out. Coming back to 2016’s Gameshow, the lead single ‘Bad Decisions’ was a
rock-solid funky throwback of a tune, kind-of perfectly mirroring its subject
matter in its sound. Possibly, the song went over so well that the band decided
to make an album full of amped up ‘Bad Decisions’. Opener ‘Once’ is still trying to
convince us that the band are the Bee Gees of indie. Follow up ‘Talk’ would not seem
too out of place on a DNCE record. ‘So Many People’ is just
False Alarm continues along a bopable pace
throughout, rarely relenting in its over-zealousness. ‘Think’ slows down by maybe
10bpm, and features that slick Stevie Wonder-inspired auto-tune. ‘Nice To See You’ also tries to
break it up a little bit by bizarrely featuring Open Mike Eagle, and to its
credit, catches you completely off guard, leaving you pleasantly surprised yet
also questioning the timeline you’re living in. Once again, all of the songs
fall under the “Social Media Vapid and Bad” genre, which is a really deep
message when you’re 13 years old and then never again. Not to completely
deprive the band of any kudos, all of the songs individually are, indeed, Bops.
However, a whole album of tracks that seemingly have nothing truly distinct
about them gets tedious and obnoxious to listen to about eight to ten minutes
in, and False Alarm suffers from
nothing else as much as this desperate need to re-capture that same easily
excitable first-time-club-goer audience of 2010. But in 2019, so it sings about
current affairs, you see.
Two Door Cinema Club have faltered ever so slightly again, but
with each attempt these falters seem more and more lethal to an already
wavering sense of social relevance. I would not be surprised at all to hear any
of these songs at high school house party, almost as equally as I’m still
surprised every time I see The Wombats come up in sold-out tour schedules.
Maybe perky, danceable indie will never truly completely disappear, but with
bands grasping at new-to-them, old to everyone not from a generic white suburb
sounds and radio spots that aren’t there anymore, with such self-assuredness
and reckless abandon, it’s hard to see this kind of maintaining any form of
critical credibility. (5/10) (Ellie
Listen to False Alarm by Two Door Cinema Club here via Spotify, and tell us what you think below!
Tags: album, Alex Trimble, Ellie Wolf, False Alarm, PIAS, Prolifica, review, Sam Halliday, Two Door Cinema Club
Currently studying Mathematics and Music at Leeds University. Generally a fan of all things musical, cultural, and pretentious. Values aesthetic way too much.
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