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Two Door Cinema Club


First there was a certain bicycle club from Bombay (or, rather, North London), then in direct competition sprang Bangor’s cinematic indie-electro-pop trio of the double-door variety, who emerged out of Northern Ireland in 2007. Of course, many fans of both contingents could well point out their differences in an arm’s-length scroll, however, success-wise, BBC and TDCC were more or less fixtures and fittings in the album charts; the latter band in question bagging three UK Top 5 strikes, including a No.1 on home soil with sophomore set, “Beacon”.
Out of post-high school band, Life Without Rory, and comprising university students Alex Trimble (vocals, rhythm guitar), Sam Halliday (lead guitar, vocals) and Kevin Baird (bass, synths, keyboards, vocals), TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB adopted their nom de plume due to Sam’s mispronunciation of their local “Tudor Cinema”. The idea of a permanent drummer was booted into touch when interim Owen Bullington kicked up a little creative difference so to speak, so the touring trio opted to employ Benjamin Thompson and additional multi-instrumentalist Jacob Berry; probably in order to keep the costs down.
On the back of a self-financed EP, `Four Words To Stand On’ (containing the demos of `Cigarettes In The Theatre’, `Do You Want It All?’ and `Undercover Martyn’), TDCC inked a deal at French-based Kitsune Records (Glassnote in the US). Exactly a year on in March 2009, `Something Good Can Work’ bubbled under the Top 50; its chirpy and anthemic vibes resonating with the youth of the day. Fist-pumping follow-up `I Can Talk’ was less fruitful, though it was one of the star tracks on the group’s much-anticipated Top 30 debut set, TOURIST HISTORY (2010) {*7}. Produced and mixed, respectively, by Eliot James and Philippe Zdar, it was a sort of round-up of their best songs so far, plus forthcoming singles `Come Back Home’ and the jangly-pop `What You Know’.
2012’s aforesaid BEACON {*7} came within a whisker of the top slot; and even the normally austere America pinned it into the Billboard Top 20. The record was polished and produced by Midas touch man Jacknife Lee, and was another to draw comparisons to PHOENIX and The POSTAL SERVICE. If Trimble possessed a Northern Irish accent, there was no sign of it on the soaring and melodic `Sleep Alone’, `Sun’, `Next Year’ and `Handshake’ – all singles.
A documentary was made while the trio’s move to Parlophone Records was consolidated; though only a near Top 30 EP, the very LOTUS EATERS-like `Changing Of The Seasons’, emerged in 2013. A lengthy three years left fickle fans – especially in America – a tad nonchalant when 2016’s GAMESHOW {*7} spun out of the pressing plant. The syrupy and effervescent `Are We Ready? (Wreck)’, the BEE GEES-esque `Bad Decisions’, plus `Ordinary’ (very DURAN DURAN), `Lavender’ and The KILLERS-ish title track did little to stir up the ailing pop charts they’d targeted. In essence, they’d sold out to a 80s new wave/disco revival market baying for the next big FIXX or A FLOCK OF something else.
2019’s FALSE ALARM {*7} saw TDCC switch to Prolifica Inc. and recall Jacknife Lee. The beat was decidedly grinding and groovier in their attempt to push out the envelope, but the 80s, whether intentional or not, was at the heart of their kinetic coda. Rapper Open Mike Eagle was drafted into the mix for hip hopper, `Nice To See You’, and in the soaring and highly-strung `Once’, `Talk’ (surely one that got away), `Satellite’ and `Dirty Air’, one could imagine HOT CHIP sharing studio time with an icy YELLO.
© MC Strong/MCS Jul2019

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