Album review: “Tourist History” Two Door Cinema Club, 2010

Two Door Cinema Club’s jump into the mainstream set the tone for modern indie music.



A beautiful cover for a beautiful album.

COLE QUINN, Evergreen Sports Photographer

Mainstream music around the early 2010s saw an unusual trend. Certain songs from the depths of the indie and alternative scene randomly spiked up in popularity.

Sleeper hits like “Sail” by AWOLNATION would take over two years before peaking at 17 on the Billboard 100. Out of this wave of sleeper hits, one album has not aged poorly in terms of quality.

Two Door Cinema Club is an indie rock band from Northern Ireland. I only became aware of the band around their later years and thought of their recent work as nothing special.

After around 2014, I like to say that the genre of “mainstream indie” came into existence. As oxymoronic as it sounds, a lot of popular artists started to latch onto this sound and oversaturated it. As of 2023, most of the more popular “indie” artists sound incredibly bland and do not bring anything special to make them unique.

Music from bands like AJR sound like a creation by a board of corporate businessmen rather than artists. The most recent track from this movement is Glass Animals’ “Heat Waves,” a snooze fest lacking any drive or passion.

However, before Two Door Cinema Club fell victim to this trend, they offered a sense of originality to their music. Their debut album “Tourist History” is one of the better indie albums from the sleeper hit era.

Most of the tracks aged well, with a handful reaching indie perfection. The album takes inspiration from Bloc Party; utilizing clean and overdriven guitars and fast tempos.

The best song from the album is “What You Know,” which is one of the catchiest songs I ever laid my ears to. The band uses electronic drums, giving the song a punchy, almost live-performance feeling.

The main guitar riff on the chorus supplements vocalist Alex Trimble’s voice perfectly. The song is comparable to “Mr. Brightside.” The melodies of each song are enough to turn a live crowd into a member of the band.

Every live performance of “What You Know” is accompanied by crowd members singing Sam Halliday’s guitar lick. If a crowd is singing your guitar riff louder than the actual lyrics, you have a great melody.

“What You Know” is not the only track on “Tourist History” with something unique to offer. The track “Undercover Martyn” is a rapid-fire track full of fast-guitar playing and energy.

The track’s instrumental bridge is one of the only times I caught myself headbanging to a riff in a major key. Which I can guarantee you is a rarity.

The song’s theme of encouraging an introverted friend to come to a house party fits well within the track’s sound. The song “I Can Talk” has a similar vibe to “Undercover Martyn.” The fast tempo juxtaposed with upbeat melodies creates a song worth dancing to. The tremolo picking of the main melody only adds more to the track.

Other tracks like “Do You Want It All?” and “Cigarettes In The Theatre” help back up the album’s catalog. However, some of the songs fail to live up to the praise of the other tracks. Tracks like “Something Good Can Work,” “This Is The Life” and “Come Back Home” fail to hit the mark compared to some of the other tracks. While they don’t hurt the album’s replay value, they impact the album’s overall quality.

Despite this, “Tourist History” supplies listeners with a wave of originality and serotonin that indie albums post—2010 fail to offer.

Maybe some modern indie bands supply a catchy song here and now, but the rest of their tracks reek of mediocrity. “Tourist History” provides a solid run of tracks that make the album worthy of revisiting, and the debut marked a period in which Two Door Cinema Club created solid music.