The $64,000 question is: what angle have they taken? And the answer is… tension-building pause… neo-disco! Yes, these once squeaky clean Bangor indie boys are channelling an unlikely list of artists including Prince, Madonna, Avicii, the Bee Gees, Chic, Justin Timberlake, Level 42 and La Roux. They shimmy and shake through ‘Bad Decisions’, ‘Fever’, ‘Lavender’ and single ‘Are We Ready? (Wreck)’ – complete with Harlem-schoolyard children’s choir – their party vibes disguising lyrics about the conflicts that caused their hiatus and the self-discoveries they made as a result.
‘Bad Decisions’ has singer Alex Trimble discussing his aversion to the internet’s information overload in a Barry Gibb falsetto. ‘Ordinary’ struts and boogies around the idea that celebrity is a sham and anonymity is a perfectly acceptable state of affairs, no matter what the Joey Essexes of this world think.
The motorik-pop title track – the album’s prime nod to the trio’s roots – buzzes brilliantly along like Death Cab For Cutie going apes**t at Alton Towers. Lyrically, it tackles the pressures and expectations of indie-rock stardom that left Trimble feeling like a puppet wracked with anxiety: “I’m a Lynchian dream, I’m made of Plasticine, I’m a Pinocchio, broken nose, let me go… My blood is pumping so hard, I’ve forgotten why I try… I’m a girl, I’m a ghost, I’m a gameshow”.
By overtly embracing radio pop, ‘Gameshow’ adds further froth to the wave of popified guitar music that TDCC triggered by giving rise to Bastille and The 1975. That they do it with such panache, melody and inventive edge will further inspire this new synthetic indie strain to hold themselves to higher artistic standards and maybe even become a full-blown genre worth worshipping. Until then, here’s what they could have won.