Two Door Cinema Club – Tourist History Two Door Cinema Club – Tourist History

Two Door Cinema Club - Tourist History

Two Door Cinema Club - Tourist History

Not since Snow Patrol has a Northern Irish band’s chances of mainstream success seemed so certain. Two Door Cinema Club, an indie pop band from Bangor, have, to their credit, always been doing things their way. Faced with the common problem when starting a band of finding a drummer, they simply recruited a Mac book to do the job for them. Theirs is the music that has always stuck out as the shiny, unapologetic pop whilst bruisers such as LaFaro and And So I Watch You From Afar and Fighting With Wire stampeded alongside, selling out venues. After their 2009 EP Four Words To Stand On, the band have since recruited a real, living, breathing drummer to give some beef to their live shows. Finally signing to the hippest of the hip labels, (Kitsuné) it was clear that these guys had their sights set high, and that somewhere, some corporate fat cats believed they had appeal outside of their homeland as well.

Their debut album Tourist History then, is exactly what you’d expect given the track record. Unashamedly catchy, foot tapping indie pop that follows on from (but does not build on) what the band have already achieved. The choruses come fast and the gratification is instant.

Opener “Cigarettes In The Theatre” is one of the strongest tracks on the album, simultaneously letting you know that they know how to write a catchy hook and also that they really, really quite like Bloc Party. Starting off with soaring guitars and a deceptively clever bass hook, the song takes a more distorted plunge towards the end, adding an uncharacteristic amount of edge to the opening track. Moments like this are invaluable on Tourist History. With the tunes being almost sickly sweet, it’s the unpredictable moments that are left to add any sort of depth.

“Come Back Home” exists to provide its semi-anthemic chorus, “So now you’re on your own/won’t you come back home”, but that’s about all it offers by way of originality. One track that fans will already be familiar with, “Do You Want It All”, does a better job of adding a bit of variety, if only because it sounds far less eager to please than the rest of the album. Instead of relentlessly layering hook upon hook the band opt for a more linear approach, bearing more resemblance to a post-rock style of songwriting than indie pop starlets. Similarly, I can’t find fault with previous single, “Something Good Can Work”. It’s a great song, and aside from displaying the most original bass work on the album, it’s catchy as hell and seems naturally suited for sunny days.

“I Can Talk” is comfortably the best example of what Two Door can pull off. A bassline that borrows heavily from The Cure and guitars that are drenched in delay seem to blend perfectly with the band’s knack of a catchy chorus. It’s also manages to offer a bit of a contrast from the rest of the albums happy go lucky tunes.
Radio friendly pop hit “Undercover Martyn” is probably one of the catchiest things you’re likely to hear this side of the next Foals album; its’ perfectly executed lyrical hook (“To the basement people, to the basement”) ensuring a few repeated listens at least.

“Tourist History” is an album that is going to do a lot better out of track by track descriptions than by looking at it as a whole. ‘Too catchy for its own good’ is not a criticism I ever imagined to be leveling at an album, but here we are, it is. By simply putting together an album that is catchy, predictable, and almost technically flawless, Two Door Cinema Club have shamelessly opted for style over substance. In fairness I have been listening to this album for a while now and whilst I had previously wanted to come down hard on Tourist History for sounding like a ‘My first indie album’, it does take some skill to craft songs such as these. Whilst I would have difficulty listening to this album start to finish and I question how long this album is going to remain the center of attention, sometimes you need an impossibly catchy chorus. Perhaps style over substance ain’t so bad, eh?

Two Door Cinema Club - Tourist History, reviewed by Lemon on 2010-03-08T14:45:43-08:00 rating 3.2 out of 5

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