Two Door Cinema Club – Keep on Smiling (Album Review)

Two Door Cinema Club – Keep on Smiling (Album Review)

Formed in 2007, in Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland, Two Door Cinema Club first emerged in 2010, carrying the flag of jangly Indie Rock music via catchy and quirky singles such as “Something Good Can Work” and “Undercover Martyn” off its debut record, 2010’s Tourist History. Three albums followed, in a span of 12 years – Beacon in 2012, Gameshow in 2016, and False Alarm in 2019. However, the show is not yet over, because the fifth symphony is forthcoming!

Slated for release on Friday, September 2, 2022, via Glassnote Records, Two Door Cinema Club’s new offering is titled Keep on Smiling. Complete with twelve songs, it opens formally with the track “Messenger AD (Intro)” then giving way next to the mirrorball-worthy “Blue Light.” Still on the dancefloor, albeit less upbeat, the starry “Everybody’s Cool” then pulsates its Disco beat next. With the ensuing single “Lucky,” Two Door Cinema Club then returns the listener to the band’s classic sound – a concoction of infectious guitar rings and jangles and synthesizer washes.

“Little Piggy” exudes a slight change of style – a bit subdued but still dancy; groove-oriented and funky. And then picking up its pace, “Millionaire” is another throwback to Tourist History’s much-loved plucked-string sharpness. After the relaxing Sophistipop soulfulness of “High,” which sounds off faint echoes of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game.” Two Door Cinema Club then treats the listener to the album’s carrier single and certainly main highlight – “Wonderful Life,” which oozes with melodies, cheeriness, and positivity. “Feeling Strange” and “Won’t Do Nothing” then both make the listener wear their dancing shoes yet again. 

After the short instrumental “Messenger HD,” Two Door Cinema Club finally wraps up Keep on Smiling with the trippy, cinematic vibe of “Disappearer.”

Still on the right track, Two Door Cinema Club – currently consisting of Alex Trimble (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Sam Halliday (lead guitar, backing vocals), and Kevin Baird (bass, synthesizers, keyboards, backing vocals) – has progressed its music relevantly. Despite having incorporated Synthpop sensibilities into its newer music, the trio made sure that the Post-Punk guitar angularity with which they have been known for remains a vital element of most of their songs. Keep on Smiling is a good example of Two Door Cinema Club’s ability to mix Indie Rock and Synthpop/Electronic Dance Music in delectable harmony. That is why Cryptic Rock gives it 4 out of 5 stars.

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aLfie vera mella
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Born in 1971, in Metro Manila, Philippines, aLfie vera mella is a healthcare worker, singer/songwriter, and editor/writer. He was the frontman of the ’90s-peaking Philippine Alternative Rock / New Wave band Half Life Half Death, which released a full-length album and several singles on Viva Records. aLfie worked at Diwa Scholastic Press as an editor/writer of academic textbooks and supplementary magazines, focusing on Science & Technology and English Grammar & Literature. In 2003, aLfie migrated to Canada; he has since been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He works full-time at a healthcare institution, while serving as the associate contributing editor of Filipino Journal—a local community newspaper in Winnipeg—tackling Literature, Languages, Cultures, Lifestyles, and Music. aLfie has been a music journalist since the mid-’90s for various print magazines as well as websites. He started writing album reviews for Cryptic Rock in 2015. In 2016, aLfie published Part One (Literature & Languages and Their Cultural Significance) of his Essay Series, Can You Hear the Sound of a Falling Leaf?; in 2021, his first book of poetry, Pag-íhip sa Dáhon ng Kahápon [Blowing Leaves of Yesterday]. In his spare time, he enjoys reading books and listening to music. aLfie is a dedicated father to his now 13-year-old son, Evawwen; and a loving husband to Kathryn Mella, who herself moonlights also as a writer aside from holding a degree in Bachelor of Arts, Major in Sociology.

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