Flashes of greatness place TDCC among the UK’s better breaking-through bands.
Lou Thomas 2010-02-19
Bangor trio Two Door Cinema Club have a penchant for naming their songs with what sound like chapter titles from an awful self-help book.
The Northern Irish boys are apparently less crooked than an avaricious motivational guru yet are happy to pepper their debut with tunes called Do You Want It All, This Is the Life and Something Good Can Work. These monikers tend to suggest a certain authoritative, even dogmatic approach to making music, and there is evidence of discipline in the musical content. Each song on Tourist History is between two-and-a-half and four minutes long, and all have a punchy directness.
Erstwhile Paul Epworth protégé Elliot James can take a degree of responsibility for this with his production work. Kevin Baird’s bass is always prominent, with impressive XTC-influenced work on Cigarettes in the Theatre and a tidy Stranglers-evoking turn on Come Back Home. What You Know, one of the album’s best moments, is another triumph of bass, but also contains vocalist Alex Trimble’s most emotive vocal and guitarist Sam Halliday’s most spindly high-register riffs.
Rather unfortunately, there is a huge Bloc Party-shaped elephant in the speakers, and not much originality here. Although BP and Editors are the most obvious forebears, listeners may also be reminded of Radiohead in the days when they were more interested in rocking than doing maths.
Still, there is comfort to be had from familiarity. And more importantly there are plenty of great tunes here. Eat That Up, It’s Good For You begins with the superb words, “You would look a little better… if you just wore less make up”. Undercover Martyn, meanwhile, includes the delightful phrase, “She spoke words that would melt in your hands”. As for second single I Can Talk, it’s nothing less than stunning; an inspired blend of melody and pugnacious drive that recalls The Futureheads at their absolute best.
Two Door Cinema Club show sporadic flashes of greatness and have an overall standard of songwriting which places them among the better new bands in the UK. They should build on this, and try out some new ideas when making their second album.