It’s a shame then that the band’s motto seems to be ‘forward to the past’. While looking backwards istead of forwards as regards making music is no bad thing (some would argue that the British ‘guitar indie’ scene needs any kind of spark to get things going again, having seemingly run itself into the ground), TDCC (Alex Trimble, Kevin Baird, Sam Halliday) wear their influences on their sleeve.
There is plenty to get excited about here if you are, say, a fan of Bloc Party’s earlier sound, or Franz Ferdinand - even as they are now, in fact: ‘Tourist History’ dabbles in electro-pop, just like certain songs on ‘Tonight’. There are even shades of Death Cab For Cutie here; Trimble sounds like a dead ringer for Ben Gibbard on the album’s lead single, the propulsive ‘I Can Talk’. (Gibbard’s side-project The Postal Service crop up on the album’s synth driven penultimate track, ‘Eat That Up, It’s Good For You’).
There are flashes of brilliance here, of course. No half-decent debut should be without them. Debut single ‘Something Good Can Work’ appears here in re-mixed form, and is about as perfect as indie-pop gets. TDCC should aspire to better it in future, because nothing here comes close.
There are sequencing problems here. You wouldn’t think that a thirty-odd minute, ten track album would have them, but then again, three singles in a row (‘Something Good Can Work’, ‘I Can Talk’, ‘Undercover Martyn’) is seldom a good idea, no matter how good said singles are.
‘Tourist History’ is bottom heavy, certainly. The promise shown by opening pair ‘Cigarettes In The Theatre’ and ‘Come Back Home’ is cancelled out by the limp ‘Do You Want It All?’. It’s disappointing that what has been one of the band’s best tracks up to now has had the life sucked out of it for its ‘definitive’ version. Phillipe Zdar and Eliot James make a great production team on paper, but the results here are sadly quite hit-and-miss. A bright sound suits songs like the anthemic ‘This Is The Life’ perfectly, but ‘What You Know’ is suffocated by its production.
‘You can’t live life being second best’, Trimble sings on closer ‘You’re Not Stubborn’. Two Door Cinema Club would do well to heed his words. The album has more hooks than you can shake a stick at, and there are some real promising moments here. For the most part, however, the band are in thrall to their influences, and some thinking outside the box is needed if they are to create a sound of their own.
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