Two Door Cinema Club album is a mess

Screenshot from the music video for “Everybody’s Cool” by Two Door Cinema Club. The video features a mixture of random clips all related to the lyrics. Photo Courtesy of YouTube
Screenshot from the music video for “Everybody’s Cool” by Two Door Cinema Club. The video features a mixture of random clips all related to the lyrics.
Photo Courtesy of YouTube


Two Door Cinema Club’s latest album was a discordant mess with nuggets of gold but no consistency.

“Keep On Smiling”, the band’s comeback collection since the “Lost Songs (Found Album)”, was released on Sept. 2 and left a confusing aftertaste. The way the songs are mixed seem unbalanced at times and there isn’t any sort of flow within the album that a listener can follow. Instead they are given a disjointed, psychedelic and funky experience that will confound.

The overall vibe of the album is a low-key and manic depression spiral all painted with a fun gold facade. When listening to the songs, it evokes when the person you’ve known to always smile and be bright and happy is having a hard time and their smile and cheer is starting to slip into something crazier. 

The longer you listen to the songs the more chaotic elements can be heard. The melodies are bright while the lyrics are dour, if you can even hear them. 

The instrumentals hit heavy and chaotic one second then fall back into the background the next with barely any transition and there’s no way to parse through all the talking head and voice samples they decided to work in there.

 The way this album somehow fights within its own songs is almost impressive. The main song that shows this is “Little Piggy”, a psychedelic grungy fever dream that I still don’t understand.

The lyrics are nonsensical, the rhythm break with just repeating “little piggy” multiple times took me out and the music just refuses to meld into a cohesive piece. The abrupt switches in styles of music within the song make it seem like there are three different tracks all competing for dominance all wanting to show off but none of the actual prowess shows through. 

It goes from crunched-out vocals with metallic tech synths to melodic falsetto singing with flourishes on the end in a second. Then they also try to work in a choir of both harmonies as well as monotone speaking, it just does not work. 

The parts where the singing was the main focus were good but then the heavy clanking of chords at the end throws that out of your mind. 

Not all the songs on the album were that confusing though, quite a few were pretty decent and well-rounded in terms of rhythm and meaning. My favorite song on the album is “Wonderful Life” because it’s by far the most put together and an enjoyable listen. The song is a standard preppy 80s inspired medley with fun upbeat drum samples and electric guitar strums to pull you into the bouncy rhythm.

The lyrics, in contrast to the music, have quite a deeper meaning. They implore the listener to try and realize their potential because it takes much more than dreams to get their wonderful life. Even calling them out by saying “Talk about it, but you never ever want to think about it.” As if to say: you always talk about a great life you want, but never think about how to get there or the consequences of what will happen when you want it.

Other enjoyable songs with one or two problems are found throughout the album, especially “Everybody’s Cool” and “Lucky”. These had the most polish and sounded like they belonged to the same world of music. 

Though I will say the ending to “Feeling Strange” certainly left me feeling strange with the random offbeat echoing piano plucking after the vocals and synth just went through a fantastic stacking and blending.

With almost every song on this album I have at least one major critique about its quality. I’ll like one very specific part of the song such as the chorus, but then it’ll move to the next verse and lose me again and I hate that. It’s best if you have some sort of rhythm or theme from one song to the next so it doesn’t sound like it’s haphazardly thrown-together.

I think the main thing that confused me about the album was how much it differed from the music that Two Door Cinema Club has done in the past. “Undercover Martyn” and “What You Know” are fantastic tracks that have held up years past their debut. But this album feels more like I can listen to it then immediately forget it, which I feel is ridiculous, especially for a two year absence.

Overall, “Keep On Smiling” feels like I was given a generic b-list 80s band’s CD that was adjusted for this era’s depression and manic nature. They tried to recapture the same magic of the genre but instead just declined the quality of their own style. I enjoy very specific songs on this album but as a whole it was a convoluted mess to try and sort through.