I find it fitting, given the similarity of their sounds, that Two Door Cinema Club and Bombay Bicycle Club both brand themselves as clubs. It’s almost like they were meant to be written about together. Specialising in wistful disco ballads that give way to blissful arcs of clarity, TDCC’S knack for the endearingly melancholic has stuck with me since hearing their most famous track, “What You Know,” in 2013. I was flooded with delight upon discovering and binge-listening BBC’s stuff only a couple of weeks ago. After much deliberation, I have whittled things down to just one track by each, plus honourable mentions, that hit me square in the heart whenever I listen to them.
You know when you hear a song for the first time and something in you perks up, like: ooh, yes, this is gonna be good, let me blot out everything and absorb every granule—that was this for me. Shuffle glows exuberantly like a summer day, thrums blissfully like first love. It is a blend of dreamily dazed and unremittingly fervid, and there’s an underlying sense of clarity to the giddiness: clean and sweet and self-assured. As the piano rears up in the chorus your own giddiness grows increasingly irrepressible, like you’re on the cusp of something grand: the promise of a new day that feels so innate to this song. Few songs get me emphatic for I don’t know what like this one. I highly recommend the acoustic version too.
CHANGING OF THE SEASONS (TDCC)
TDCC’S identity is formulated via the entrancingly mellow meeting the intoxicatingly upbeat. Changing Of The Seasons is a testament to this casually epic forte. Addressing life carrying on after a break up in spite of faulty attempts to hold on or reconcile, the lyrics are bittersweet (and so sing-along worthy), enriched by an undercurrent of infectious vibrancy that flows seamlessly throughout. It’s the very definition of “happy heartbreak.” Though the best part—and the reason I ultimately chose it—is when the singing halts and the instruments simmer. Like a camera moving back to finally encompass the full picture, the song spans out into a horizon that prompts a feeling of breath-snuffing weightlessness, of aerial-view invincibility. The vocals come crooning overtop: You said come back and spend the night / Come back and spend the night / With me. Even if you haven’t recently broken things off with a significant other, or had a significant other, I can guarantee every refreshing exclamation will resonate: And I’ve worn out all the reasons to keep on knocking at your door / Could be the changing of the seasons / But I don’t love you anymore.
— GAMESHOW (TDCC): The title song of their newest album. If I had my drivers licence I would one hundred percent be careening down a highway to it, wind in my hair, feeling on top of the world. It’s probably a good thing I don’t, given the impassioned bout of head-banging that occurs when the chorus comes tearing in all its rockstar fervency: I’m a girl / I’m a ghost / I’m a gameshow.
— IT’S ALRIGHT NOW (BBC): Nothing but gauzy luminosity and ethereal softness, subtly underscored by the kind of lust-for-life vigour that compels you to fly. The drumbeat heralds the crystalline rush of a chorus, where pulsating translucence erupts into an iridescent downpour. Shimmering and exhilarating, accompanying the slightest pause for your breath to catch. I have an out-of-body experience every listen.
— FAVOURITE DAY (BBC): This track feels like submerging yourself in a nursery rhyme. I don't know how, I don't know why. There's just something strikingly childlike about it: a beguiling lullaby with whimsicality in its genes.
— CIGARETTES IN THE THEATRE (TDCC): The very start is tension-thick with what sounds like, if you listen closely, drafts of wind. The very end sees a stark contrast of trumpets rising to a rapturous peaking point before collapsing, fabulously, in an adrenaline-fuelled tangle. And everything in between is fantastic. ♫