Album Review: Two Door Cinema Club – Tourist History

By on Tuesday, 23rd February 2010 at 2:00 pm

The release of the highly anticipated debut album from those lovable lads from Northern Ireland, Two Door Cinema Club, is nigh. Having previewed five of the tracks earlier this year, I was eager to hear the rest of ‘Tourist History’. Considering that I liked what I had already heard, I put myself in the position of devil’s advocate and wanted to pose the important question: will the album as one unit sink or swim? With the digitalism of music and the availability of single mp3 downloads, the album as a complete entity is no longer as important as it once was. Often I get disappointed that the singles, promoted heavily on radio and via promo video, are the only songs on an album worth my ears – and my time. I can say without a doubt that ‘Tourist History’ is definitely a keeper and worth the pounds necessary for its procurement. It’s akin to the swinging, swaggering hipster at the school dance: when he’s standing on the sidelines, you’re unsure what kind of shapes he’ll cut, but as soon as the music starts up, he’s not just the life of the party. He is the party. And this album is one party you don’t want to miss.

I sat in on a live Gigwise chat with the boys in London last week and found out their name comes from the Tudor Cinema, a real place in Comber, County Down, Northern Ireland. So it makes sense that their debut album would pay homage to its namesake right off the bat, with the jaunty, guitar-driven track ‘Cigarettes in the Theatre’. It comes complete with Alex Trimble’s now trademark manic vocals, the ones you sometimes wonder, how on earth does he get the words out? The next track, ‘Come Back Home’, is a bit slower, so it’s a good change of pace, with heavier drums and howling lead guitar. The song’s premise: a wistful wish for a mate to return home, and that there is no shame associated with such a move. During my schooling, I had to return home when my father became ill, so the sentiment resonated with me.

The four songs that lie in the middle of this 10-track wonder are nothing short of stunning. With the exception of ‘This is the Life’, the other three have already been released by Kitsuné Maison as singles (‘Something Good Can Work’, ‘I Can Talk’ and ‘Undercover Martyn’). Make no mistake, they were obviously chosen because they’re infectious as hell and are sure to brighten your day. If there’s any doubt in your mind whether these are three blokes are having fun making music, consider those thoughts banished. ‘I Can Talk’, with its hard-hitting lyrics by a jilted lover, and the engaging, punchy ‘Undercover Martyn’ are probably the best of the bunch.


‘What You Know’ switches things up a bit, with different percussive elements and Sam Halliday’s melodic guitar. I can picture girls being spellbound by the lyrics, “I can tell what you want / you don’t want to be alone / you don’t want to be alone.” They certainly grabbed my attention and made me ache to see this band live as soon as possible. Kev Baird’s bass lines are the star of the closing track, ‘You’re Not Stubborn’.

The one minor fault I have with the album is ‘Do You Want It All’, sounding slightly spacey and with its slightly grating, repetitive chorus, but this is somewhat saved by Trimble’s yearning voice late in the song. Also, the freewheeling guitars make this song and the others on ‘Tourist History’ a joy.

Overall, this is one heck of a debut album. This is going to be the year of Two Door Cinema Club, I can feel it in my bones. Why? Because their tunes make me jump up and dance, and I’m sure you’ll feel the same. Announcing plans for their first-ever North American headlining tour even before their album is released in the UK? Surely it’s an excellent sign that people across the pond are taking notice of the buzz around this band.


Two Door Cinema Club’s debut album, ‘Tourist History’, will be released on 01 March in the UK on the Kitsuné Maison label. ‘Undercover Martyn’, the band’s latest single, was released on 22 February.

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5 Responses

5:32 pm
23rd February 2010

Well written review, but I have to respectfully disagree with you. In fact, I could barely disagree more. There’s barely a twist or turn where this artist doesn’t disappoint. I was excited by early demos, but they have made absolutely nil progress since, resulting in an album that is, ultimately, ten different ways of doing the same limp dicked indie rock. 2010’s The Wombats.

8:42 pm
23rd February 2010

I agree. It WILL be Two Door Cinema Clubs year. You write really really well by the way!

4:53 am
24th February 2010

Great website and we all totally agree with you on this view right here. Its insane, thats what i should write about this post. Because this is what the whole internet is about right? Keep on doing a great job!

10:23 am
16th May 2011

eat that up, is the best song on the record. slipped your mind?

[…] The echo effect sounds fab on album closer ‘The I Love You Bridge’. However, the star of this show is third track ‘Stars’, with the lyrics taking a page from Oscar Wilde’s famous quote “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars”, speaking of being penniless, yet still completely happy together. Waite says in the chorus, “tell me how the stars still smile on us / and make the world disappear? / tell me in the darkness / stars still smile on us / tell me that you’re dancing just because / and whispered softly in my ear / tell me in the darkness / stars still smile on us”. Mark my words, this will be the most beautiful note progression and chorus released the year. The guitars, by Tom Dakin and lyricist Daniel Hopewell, sing to me in a way no other album has since Sam Halliday’s in ‘Tourist History’. […]

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