Two Door Cinema Club produce a musical pick-me-up

The trio have a tendency to plod, but when their fifth album is good, it’s really good

Keep On Smiling
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Artist: Two Door Cinema Club
Genre: Pop
Label: Lower Third [PIAS]

Try as they might, it seems like Two Door Cinema Club may never manage to shake off the baggage of that enormously successful 2010 debut. The Bangor trio conquered the world with Tourist History, yet despite releasing a succession of solid follow-ups, they remain in its shadow.

Alex Trimble and his band-mates aren’t quite as chirpy and frothy as they were 12 years ago, but they are still capable of packing songs with melody and memorable riffs. Their fifth album’s first line, “We’re leaving today in search of a new life / We’ll change our colours and change our shape” is telling; songs like Blue Light perhaps signify a new era for the band, who presumably spent much of lockdown immersing themselves in 1980s art-pop and indie music.

The funky strut of Everybody’s Cool continues that trend, although Little Piggy and the wistful Lucky are emblematic of the problems with this record: it has some exciting moments, but a tendency to plod. When it’s good, however, it’s really good: Wonderful Life’s joyous bustle sounds like Huey Lewis on a John Hughes film soundtrack, while Won’t Do Nothing is one of several tracks audaciously yet enjoyably in thrall to Talking Heads. Written during lockdown and in its aftermath, Keep on Smiling was a reminder to do just that. As musical pick-me-ups go, it certainly does the job.

Lauren Murphy

Lauren Murphy

Lauren Murphy is a freelance journalist and broadcaster. She writes about music and the arts for The Irish Times