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The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

‘Keep On Smiling’: Two Door Cinema Club just released a new album

From the band that brought us iconic indie hits including “What You Know” and “Something Good Can Work,” comes a new upbeat album, “Keep On Smiling.”
The Album cover for “Keep On Smiling.” (Photo courtesy of Glassnote Entertainment Group)
Glassnote Entertainment Group
The Album cover for “Keep On Smiling.” (Photo courtesy of Glassnote Entertainment Group)

There’s something about Two Door Cinema Club that evokes the excitement and joy of a joyride on a warm summer day. Their new album, “Keep On Smiling,” gives listeners everything they need to savor the end of the summer and to put it simply, keep on smiling. While the album doesn’t deviate from previous records or dive too far into deeper topics, it provides a synthy, summery soundtrack perfect for driving with the windows down. 

Bandmates Alex Trimble, Sam Halliday and Kevin Baird met in their hometown of Bangor, Northern Ireland, and chose their band name off of the mispronunciation of a local cinema, Tudor Cinema. The trio’s 2010 debut album, “Tourist History,” received widespread acclaim for their hit songs “What You Know,” “Undercover Martyn” and “Something Good Can Work.”

In 2014, the band went on an extended break due to tension between members and prolonged stress from life on tour. During this time, Trimble, Halliday and Baird went their separate ways to find themselves and regain inner peace, dabbling in everything from love to drugs to yoga. After a year apart, the band decided to start a long-distance relationship and wrote their album “Gameshow” over Skype. In the years since, the band has kept a three-year lapse between albums, releasing “False Alarm” in 2019 and “Keep On Smiling” in 2022. They’ve experimented with new sounds and grown in their artistic confidence in an album containing “pretty much all of [their] most ridiculous ideas.”

The setlist begins with an ominous, sci-fi-sounding, instrumental intro, “Messenger AD.” The song brings in electronic pop elements to create a sound that is reminiscent of Tame Impala or even the “Stranger Things” theme song. After a moody intro, the band launches into an upbeat, vocal electro-funk vibe with “Blue Light.” The pace and vibes pick up as Trimble sings about coming out of darkness into a new light. 

Next on the list, “Everybody’s Cool” continues with the classic, happy Two Door Cinema Club sound that we know and love. While the pace slows slightly from “Blue Light,” the mood remains high. The band brings on a 1980s-esque sound while singing that “taking in the view, everybody’s cool.” 

Lucky,” one of the album’s pre-released singles, is a definite high note on the album. The song is more introspective than others, and the band explained in an interview with mxdwn that it highlights the importance of “[taking] time to think and reflect about why things are there in the first place” in “such a disposable society.” The song is both energetic and nostalgic, as it incorporates the indie-pop sound of their early hits while including lyrics about experiencing changes and running out of luck. 

Their next two songs, “Little Piggy” and “Millionaire,” bring hints of different, experimental sounds to the album. “Little Piggy” opens with electronic beats and slows things back down, highlighting the lines of lead Trimble and letting the instruments take off on their own. “Millionaire” features disco, dancy beats with darker undertones and overlays of what sounds like a retro television show. In the background, a man with a transatlantic accent asks “supposing you want to be a millionaire, how would you go about it?” Even as the subject matter gets heavier and talks about the toxic cycles of wealth and achievement, the beat makes listeners want to get up and dance.

High” gets Two Door Cinema Club a little out of their comfort zone, as they slow down with quieter, electronic beats alongside Trimble’s belts. The song can’t quite decide what it wants to bea mournful ballad or a slowed-down indie groove. 

Wonderful Life,” the lead single from the album, quickly returns to the album’s pop like vibe with catchy guitar riffs and a faster tempo. Two Door Cinema Club isn’t exactly going out on a limb with anything new on this track, but we feel at home with their indie optimism and reminders that “the more the life to love/much better/We say it all of the time/The time is now, it’s now or never”

Feeling Strange” stays energetic, as a percussive and indie highlight of the album. “Won’t Do Nothing” is one of the more experimental songs from the album, matching electronic and robotic voices with fun beats and a chorus. Despite the fun Trimble has with lyrics and vocal effects, some of the lyrics come across as extremely corny, such as “Falling behind/ Trying to be kind/ Changing my mind.”  

Messenger HD” begins to close out the album in a complementary fashion to its opening counterpart “Messenger AD.” Another instrumental composition, “Messenger HD”  begins feeling almost orchestral and graceful, contrasting the electro-pop noises of its counterpart. “Disappearer” feels a bit random to close the album, without any complete final message to listeners. Two Door Cinema Club would’ve been better served to close it out with the euphoric “Messenger HD” instead. 

Overall, Two Door Cinema Club has delivered another upbeat, indie album, covering some of the highs and lows of life. True to its title, “Keep On Smiling” reminds us to choose happiness and savor moments in life. Sure, it can be corny, but isn’t that why we love them?

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About the Contributors
Claire Gatlin
Claire Gatlin, Former Life Editor
Claire Gatlin ('24) is a student in Peabody College studying human and organizational development and political science. In her free time, she enjoys going to concerts, reading and rollerblading. You can reach her at [email protected].
Caroline Lingle
Caroline Lingle, Staff Writer
Caroline Lingle ('24) is majoring in political science and communication studies and minoring in business in the College of Arts and Science. She enjoys exercising and hanging out with one of her four dogs. She can be reached at [email protected].
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