BY ELIZABETH SEGRAN
Two Door Cinema Club • Tourist History (March 1, 2010)
The three guys who form the electro-pop band Two Door Cinema Club came together in 2007 while still in high school in Bangor. Their youth is evident in their boyish looks, generally lighthearted lyrics, and irresistibly catchy beats. Despite their young age, the boys wield their instruments with skill and offer us a string of addictive songs, jam-packed with hooks. Their debut album is a surprisingly fresh contribution to the overpopulated world of indie-pop. Alex Trimble’s vocals are emotive, pitch perfect, and smooth. Every track on the album is melodious, even as the tempo remains energetic and danceable. This proves to be a winning combination.
None of the songs are particularly deep, although the band attempts to tackle real emotional issues. In “What You Know,” Trimble delivers the line “I can tell just what you want: you don’t want to be alone,” but the tenor of the song is so frothy and full of punchy guitar riffs that it just misses being poignant. In “Come Back Home” he sings, “So now you’re on your own, won’t you come back home, to see you’re not that kind and find the strength to find another way.” While some songs briefly touch on sorrow, you can’t help feeling that this music represents a more innocent state of being.
Their best songs are about the simple pleasures. This music is a soundtrack to being young and alive and open to anything.
P.S. They’re great live! They play at Pop Scene in SF on May 6, 2010.
Sixstarhotel • Tides and Tides (December 7, 2009)
S ixstarhotel hails from Belfast. On the scene in Northern Ireland since 2001, the four-man band has recently gained recognition across the UK for their brand of punchy post-punk. Their music is characterized by simple song structures with choruses of repeated verses and richly textured lyrics.
In 2009, they released their second LP entitled Tides and Tides. The album covers some rather epic themes, which are evident in both the album art and the song titles. Many of these ideas come from the Irish folk tradition. With dexterity, they bring poetic ideas into the realm of everyday life. Dave Clements, the lead vocalist, sings with earnestness but manages to avoid sounding sentimental. This serves the music well, as the imagery in the album could come across as hyperbolic without Clements’ grounded voice.
For instance, “You’re a Phoenix, I’m a Grave” is about learning love through trial and error – sometimes love can be reborn, sometimes, it just dies out. “Gloria! Gloria!” speaks of venturing onward into the future when your feel alienated from your friends. Clements sings, “Forward we venture through forests and temperature. Onward and onward and into the night…. Awkward in silence, uncomfortable politeness, I’d hardly call that a friend. Still oddly we’re strangers; I thought we spoke yesterday.” The intricate lyrics are full of metaphor. It is easy to think of the whole album as a kind of dreamscape which interweaves the magical with the mundane.
The band also has a lighter side. “Kid Go Get It” is the album’s catchy single, once again on the theme of pursuing your dreams alone. In the middle of the song, there is a goofy interlude about sitting around with friends, laughing and rhyming off insects’ names to pass the time. All in all, this is an interesting, multifaceted band, well worth a listen.