Irish indie-rock trio, Two Door Cinema Club, have always had a dancey edge to their music, a fact they more than leaned into on their third album, Gameshow. Assuming that the band’s existing fans value the dance-vibes of their music more than the indie-rock elements, they can be expected to be pleased with the 10 tracks offered up here. For everyone else, reactions will depend on the listener’s thoughts and feelings towards funk and disco.
Compatriot, Jacknife Lee, returns as Gameshow’s producer, having worked on Two Door Cinema Club’s second record, Beacon. As would be expected with the involvement of someone Lee’s calibre, Gameshow is a shiny and polished affair with no obvious technical flaws or shortcomings. It seems odd to say, but this proves to be a weakness of sorts, as the songs have a tendency to blur together with no strong individual character beyond just how dancey they are, and how heavily the band lean into the funk/disco vibe they have become enamoured with. The indie-rock sound that ran through 2010’s Tourist History, is all but gone now – completing the shift started with Beacon – with the only grit or edge being relegated to 70’s inspired solos and back-masking, as on Fever, Bad Vibrations, and Invincible.
Listeners should be able to decide by the end of opening track, and lead single, Are We Ready? (Wreck) whether or not Gameshow is the album for them, and anyone ambivalent after that 4 minutes of funky dance vibes will find Bad Vibrations electro-pop and falsetto vocals settling the matter for them. The titular Gameshow demonstrates that Two Door Cinema Club can craft a solid groove, while Lavender proves they also know how to deliver a pleasantly atmospheric pop-song. Gameshow seems set to be an album that divides listeners into either lovers or haters.