Single Review / Essay: Two Door Cinema Club – Are We Ready? (Wreck)

By on Friday, 24th June 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

In just a few hours, Two Door Cinema Club will be returning to Glastonbury – to play on the Pyramid Stage, no less – after a 3-year absence from Worthy Farm. They’ve also had a 3-year absence from the record shops, following 2013’s oddball ‘Changing of the Seasons’ EP. In the world we live in, where mass consumerism is king and instant gratification is a key driver in buying decisions, 3 years away from the music industry machine is deemed pretty much akin to career suicide. However, according to the press release to promote their upcoming third album to be released in autumn, Alex Trimble, Sam Halliday and Kevin Baird just needed to unplug from all of it.

And unplug from it they did, from their crazy touring schedule and the crazy existence their lives had turned into. And, rather shockingly to me, they needed to unplug from each other, “to alleviate the increasing passive aggressive tensions within it [the band] and battle their various demons”. Wow. As we’ve seen many a band implode for no more reason than that old chestnut “familiarity breeds contempt”, perhaps the foresight to open the pressure valve before the strain became too great will prove the reason for Two Door’s longevity for years to come. Now, however, we should consider their first song since their forced separation, ‘Are We Ready? (Wreck)’.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fRp_EqRG70[/youtube]

Having done the initial brainstorming and sketches for their third album over email – a necessity, now that Trimble lives in Portland, Halliday is in London and Baird now calls Los Angeles home – this first taster from ‘Gameshow’ indicates that we’re in for a potentially bumpy ride. Bumpy, in the sense that it appears Two Door have eschewed the obvious hooks and pop sensibilities that made them quick favourites with the kids. Trimble says of the new album, “We’re not embracing the pop that’s going on now in a melodic or structural sense. The two biggest influences for me were Prince and Bowie: both total pioneers who straddled that line between out-there pop and avant-garde craziness.” Uh huh. When asked about how the new single came out, Trimble explains:

While I was writing this single I discovered this term weltschmertz, the German word for being at odds with the world around you. The fact that it was a fully coined term and related to so many people that have existed and do exist made me feel it was okay to not exist on the same level as everyone else, it was okay to be comfortable doing your own thing. ‘Are We Ready? (Wreck)’ was me…not attacking the world around me but outlining why I don’t really get it and why I don’t fit in with it.

The lines “you should be comfortable, don’t think at all” and “you get paid, don’t need any respect” seem to be direct nods to the disaffected creatures performing on a stage they became after becoming indie heroes to a global legion of fans. Through the song, there is a definite sense of mocking of society, albeit a veiled one, as Trimble highlights through his lyrics the inanity of a world made up of people who can’t think for themselves. Thematically, it recalls for me a single last year by The 1975, ‘Love Me’, in which Matthew Healy pointed out the decline of pop music as an art form because of the absurdity of success and how it has changed music.

It’s important to note that you can still dance to Two Door Cinema Club on ‘Are We Ready? (Wreck)’. This is a very good thing. But their songwriting formula has changed. As Trimble says, they’ve chosen to go towards a different kind of pop sound: one that is far less immediate, while allowing for a more cerebral approach with the lyrics. I have to admit, I didn’t like this song at all the first time I listened to it. It truly bothered all my senses that Sam Halliday’s guitar doesn’t sing on here as how I remembered it did on either of their first two albums. If you compare the new single to their previous efforts, there’s a scarily palpable void melodically. They certainly don’t sound like the band I remember.

However, after a few more listens, a strange thing happened. It began to grow on me. The emotional content comes across in spades in Trimble’s voice, and it’s a nice progression from the heart-wrenching vocal delivery in the chorus of ‘Beacon’ track ‘Sun’. Maybe this is the key to appreciating it properly? By choosing the road less travelled, Two Door Cinema Club have consciously taken artistic control of their music. However, this also means they’ve assumed all of the risk for their future. Did they make the right decision? We’ll have to wait until October to find out.

8/10

Two Door Cinema Club’s single ‘Are We Ready? (Wreck)’ is available now. ‘Gameshow’, their forthcoming third album produced by Jacknife Lee, will be out on the 14th of October on Parlophone Records. To read any or all of TGTF’s comprehensive back archive of on Two Door, go here.

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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