June 21, 2019 Two Door Cinema Club – False Alarm (Album Review)
Here is a band that was able to transition from the raucous, guitar-happy basement fun of its debut record to the rhythmically relaxed and Disco-dazed predisposition of its ensuing albums. Now, the trio are at it again—in an even more dizzying and electrifying, Synthpop-oriented offering!
Formed in 2007, in County Down, Northern Ireland, by Alex Trimble (vocals, rhythm guitar, beats, synths), Sam Halliday (lead guitar, backing vocals), and Kevin Baird (bass, synths, backing vocals), Two Door Cinema Club captivated the Indie Pop scene with its sharp and shiny first effort, 2010’s Guitar Pop-stylized Tourist History. The two full-lengths that followed slowly migrated to synthesizer territory, with the guitar’s angularity giving way to the fluidity of the keyboard melodies. The forthcoming False Alarm is a continuation of this excursion.
Out Friday, June 21st, 2019, through Glassnote Records, Two Door Cinema Club’s fourth oeuvre opens with the slightly syncopated, upbeat, mirror-ball Synthpop tune “Once;” an apt opening track, it will immediately remind the initiated of the similar trajectory of bands such as Arctic Monkeys, Arcade Fire, MGMT, and even the pioneering New Order. The ensuing “Talk” simply builds up on the introductory dance-ability of False Alarm—funky, engaging, strobe-lights-worthy. “Satisfaction Guaranteed” is a further trek to the dance floor, made big-sounding by Baird’s bouncy bass lines, Halliday’s slick trademark guitar strums, and Trimble’s synth flares; it will fit well onto a playlist that includes Duran Duran’s “Hungry like the Wolf,” ABC’s “Poison Arrow,” and Kajagoogoo’s “White Feathers.”
Two Door Cinema Club then turns the Disco lights dimmer with the slow jam of “So Many People” and the soulful sway of the R&B-flavored ballad “Think.” Then, the atmospherics restart as “Nice to See You” plays next with its confident, pulsating tribal beat. The following “Break” is a change of style and pace—its lush instrumentation exudes a mix of melodrama and Progressive tendencies.
“Dirty Air” is another throwback to the ’80s phase of New Wave music—refracting spectral echoes and funky rhythms of Bronski Beat (“Hit That Perfect Beat”), Heaven 17 (“Temptation”), and Al Corley (“Square Rooms”). Nearing the end of the set, “Satellite” is a refreshing and relaxing album highlight; this time more attuned with the Two Door Cinema Club of old—slicing Post-Punk guitars and Trimble’s quirky, chirpy, and playful vocal harmonies. Finally, Trimble, Baird, and Halliday wrap up False Alarm with the undulating and falsetto-flavored allure of “Already Gone.”
To the newcomers, False Alarm may sound like a far cry from the energetic and youthful vibes of Tourist History. However, if the listener is familiar with the four-album discography of Two Door Cinema Club, then she should be able to acknowledge the smooth journey of the three artists from their carefree youthfulness to their current calculated musicality. They have evolved musically, yes, but nothing really diminished; in fact, their music has just become much fuller and more assured. False Alarm shows just that. There is nothing false in it after all! Everything is now. Precise yet loose. Serious but still fun. That is why Cryptic Rock gives False Alarm 4 out of 5 stars.