So much indie music and so little time!
Yes, it seems over the past few years, the influx of British indie music has swelled from just a small pool of rising bands to an entire swamp of hopeful up-and-comers. Everywhere you look, new groups are springing up, spreading their 'catchy tunes' across the globe and filling every Festival and venue with their wishy-washy, take-it-or-leave-it material. It's got to the point where indie no longer means 'independent' or 'do it yourself' but instead is now just an adjective to tie on to any band with simple melodies and a few guitars.
So with that in mind, we dive head first into Two Door Cinema Club's début album Tourist History. Is it indie music? Well, yes in the sense that it's catchy, mostly characterless music; but what else does it offer?
Shiny production, youthful vocals, pure pop sensibilities, danceable melodies, radio appeal, a hint of electro, no real emotion to speak of and a nice big red cherry of simplicity to top things off. Is this indie music? Real, bona-fide independent music? Honestly, it's not even close.
Tourist History is a commendable attempt at appeasing the under-thirties demographic who now, instead of adorning tracksuits and caps, typically seem to find tight skinny jeans and plimsolls a lot more appealing. The once 'chavs' of the nation have gone soft, growing their hair out and citing Muse or The Maccabees as the 'kings of music'. They've moved embarrassingly away from the Garage of the nineties and are now attempting to fit in with the new guitar-craze of the last decade (whilst still somehow managing to fit N-Dubz into their ten favourite bands of recent times). Just pop over to your local town-centre now and count the kids in fluorescent-coloured hoodies and diaphragm-choking denim. Anyway, back to the music, ahem.
What we have here is just over half-an-hour of passable electro-'indie'-pop, distilled down into one smooth, inoffensive ride with barely a single moment of genuine inspiration anywhere. It's by no means a terrible or untenable record, it's just completely dead behind the eyes. Intro track "Cigarettes In The Theatre" displays exactly what you shall be experiencing for the next thirty minutes and that's about it. Quick guitars, foot-tapping drums, adolescent vocals and a brief injection of blips and bleeps. What comes next you wonder? That'll be quick guitars, foot-tapping drums, blips, bleeps, oh and a big danceable chorus too. Repetition follows frustrating repetition and it's here that we begin to wonder why the band even tried at all.
Again and again we experience the same thing, differing only in timing and maybe, possibly, a vague shift in structure if you're lucky enough. It seems as if we're being overly nasty to the threesome but what we're trying to highlight is how fed up we all are of the generic safe-route that a growing amount of bands seem to be taking nowadays. Where's the passion? The raw emotion; be it aggression or remorse? Isn't that what music is all about? Displaying and sharing your views, feelings and compassion for your work with others? You've been given a pedestal and a rare chance to actually take part in the wonderful medium of music so why ruin it with insipid mediocrity and meandering nonsense such as this?
This isn't music, this is just a product; a commercialisation and blatant exploitation of the fact that today's youth want nothing more than to be pacified by something that isn't too trying. "We can't get pissed and dance like a bunch of pratts to The Smiths so give us something easy, something simple with a catchy beat and a pounding bass".
Now, whilst we let our blood-pressure drop a bit, we'll finish with this. What you take from Two Door Cinema Club's début all comes down to who you are. It's a fantastic album filled with hit upon hit if you're looking for nothing more than a brief injection of danceable, happy-go-lucky University bar music; it's a mediocre attempt at electro-pop if you're someone who wants something forgettable on in the background whilst they do their work and it's an utterly abysmal attempt at music making if you're anyone else.
Opinionated we may be, but as we move on into 2010, we're tired of being force fed what we're told is new and 'all the rage'. It's time we made up our own minds, wouldn't you agree?
And on that note we've decided to leave the rating down to you.