Two Door Cinema Club — Keep On Smiling

Two Door Cinema Club’s most popular songs have always pulled away from the band’s rock moorings and towards the waters of dance and electronica, but the decisive shift in this direction that began with Gameshow is now fully realized on Keep On Smiling. Most of the dominant sounds are synthesized, or are so heavily processed that they sound as if they were. Voices receive the same treatment in many places, and the dance-enticing beats live at the top of the mix.

Fortunately, melodies and dynamic verse/chorus changes still play a large role in the music—and that goes a long way towards keeping the band’s sound unique. “Everybody’s Cool,” “Lucky,” and “Little Piggy” are quirky electronica numbers in which danceability meets melodic memorability, forming the blueprint for the best songs of the set. “Wonderful Life” and “Feeling Strange” follow suit.

A problem with this style is that vocals, lyrics, and instrumentals get lost in a sound that is at times too electronically bleepy-bloopy, or too full and throbby, leading to ear fatigue on the back half of the album. Other tracks help to alleviate some of this by providing a literal change of pace, but they are far weaker than the hits. In its finest moments, Keep On Smiling represents a career peak, but as a whole it lags in places. It is still a great album and features the best version of the band to date.

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