Change is good and sometimes change can be absolutely amazing. When it comes to the third studio release from indie rock band Two Door Cinema Club, change is stellar. Gameshow came to us in 2016 and was a clear departure from their past two records, being oriented on a more experimental feel which allowed the band to play with different sounds, feels and tempos. Gone are the high pitched guitar riffs and fast paced classic indie sounding tracks, replaced with slower, melodic, and at times, disco inspired tunes. Many times, especially when it comes to the indie rock genre, things can become stale or repetitive but the thing that I find most remarkable about this record is how the band managed to avoid that completely. Although it’s not the most cohesive record in their discography, this one is ridiculously entertaining and so full of life in ways that their previous work isn’t. It’s vibrant and genuinely new, and without further ado, I’d like to present some of my favorite colors from Gameshow.
This easily became one of my favorites off this project simply because it’s a different vibe, although it still feels like Two Door Cinema Club. It’s clear that even though they don’t sound necessarily the same, they haven’t lost touch with who they are as a band. This song in particular is immaculately produced (in comparison with their other material) but it takes on a dreamy tone to it. It’s relaxed with a defined bass heard in the background coupled with a slight synthesizer, and guitars coming in during the chorus to add to the full effect. One of the best pieces of the song is the bridge buildup where I can’t even tell if it’s a synthesizer or guitar tune, but nonetheless, keeps the track fresh and interesting. Lyrically the track coincides with the instrumental, as it’s about getting lost in your dreams. It takes on an outer space like effect where the narrator is describing another planet and the “cosmic radiation” and “magnetic energy” that comes along with it. The entire theme of this single track is perfectly conveyed, which is something most artists struggle with but TDCC made it feel so easy.
This might be the best song on the record, if not the best song the band has ever put out. Sucker is given to us as a bonus track, although it rightfully deserved to be on the standard track list. It’s much slower than anything they’ve ever done, and made up of a prominent drum beat, echoey vocals and alien sounding synthesizer. There is also a piano or guitar riff in the background but truthfully, I can’t even tell which instruments are being used. This is such a unique and dazzling track, despite it’s slower tempo and it’s one that I have a hard time describing. Just go listen to it.
Inspiration and imitation are separated by a fine line and there are plenty of times where an artist’s work veers more on the imitation side. Ordinary, however, is far from it. It sounds like a modern rendition of 80’s pop, starting us out with a synth chime like effect. As a matter of fact, the entire track is built up of mostly synthesizer sounding tunes and gives off an updated 80’s pop vibe the entire time. One of the best parts this one has to offer is the instrumental after the second chorus that mimics the chorus melody, providing a wonderful expansion on an already wonderful melody. But wait, there’s more. When it comes to the lyrics, this entire record is very story telling like where it doesn’t just veer on the abstract side of things; it dives deep into the abstractedness without any boundaries. On the contrary, Ordinary tells us a story about someone who tries to appear normal but, in reality, is not. To make it even better, it’s told from the perspective of someone they know, and feels very real to the point where you can almost basically insert yourself into the song itself.
Optimism is a theme found throughout this project which make it very listenable and it’s packaged in a way that keeps it from getting corny. Just like Ordinary, Good Morning is another lyrical standout among the rest. It discusses the feeling of hitting a rough patch in life but also assures the listener that everything will be just fine. Some of the best lines are found in the bridge and chorus pieces, where a few perfect examples are “I always simplify this all the time / Somehow I think that I’m alone / I wake up everyday and change my mind / Good morning” and “Found no solution but to let the pieces fall where they fall”. This is a difficult song to describe sonically, but I would say at it’s core it’s built up of more dream like synthesizer and guitar parts. Spectacular vocal melodies are layered in, making this a very balanced and pleasant song to listen to.