Friday, February 26, 2010

Album review - Two Door Cinema Club 'Tourist History'

Two Door Cinema Club
‘Tourist History’
(Kitsuné Music)

THERE IS an awful moment at the start of this album where one can’t help feeling a hollow ball developing in the pit of your proverbial stomach; is this yet another case of hype over substance? We were led to believe that this album would contain great things, the Northern Irish trio of Alex Trimble, Kevin Baird and Sam Halliday, performing as trio Two Door Cinema Club, were to be the new great thing to emanate from these shores.
Inclusion on the BBC Sounds of 2010 list; plugs from Kanye West; signed to trendy French label Kitsuné Music in Europe and Glassnote in the US - with label mates Phoenix; good advance press; flashy videos - it all seemed to stack up.
But the opening thirty seconds of Tourist History, opener Cigarettes in the Theatre, is so samey, so part of the current zeitgeist of popular bands - Friendly Fires with dashes of Delorentos and Director from these parts - that you can’t help feeling let down.
Thankfully, this is but a passing feeling.

Admittedly it takes a few tracks for this album to worm its way in, but when it does, boy will it grip you and dig in its claws. By the time you get to the fifth track - the Vampire Weekend influenced Something Good Can Work - the first single from the album, it will be hard not to be hooked by the irregular Afro-beat, electro-pop inspired indie music.
All of the above influences are prevalent, including elements of Bloc Party’s earlier output, no surprise to note that UK producer Elliot James worked on this album.
The sheer joy of Something Good.. with its Caribbean rhythms, yelps, shouts and genial bass and guitar lines, will be hard to prevent working its way into your brain, but the Atlas-lite, Foals-esque intensity, Passion Pit-sing-song of I Can Talk will reel you in.
In fact, together with the superbly sweet and bouncy Undercover Martyn - “she spoke words that would melt in your hands / she spoke words of wisdom ” - these are the three most addictive tracks on this eventually immensely satisfying album.

There is a remarkable tautness to the songs on this debut, a complete lack of filler on an album that clocks in at a mere 33 minutes, while Trimble’s vocals are confident, the trio clearly feeding off each other’s youthful energy, the last 30 seconds of What You Know illustrating this in spades, while if second last track Eat Up It’s Good For You is not all over radios this summer, we will eat our hat.

Yes, Tourist History is hackneyed in places, and often sounds uncomfortably like the Irish bands mentioned above at times - but there are moments when this album will leave you gasping at its hotch-potch of styles, mixed together to produce a startlingly fresh sounding album.

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