The new single from former Indie heartthrobs Two Door Cinema Club is a sign of the times.
We’ve been told for a long time that guitar music is dying. In fact, it’s a rumour that has been kicked around since the time of The Beatles. Every once in a while a false saviour of the genre crops up (much like The Vaccines were once touted to be), but overall we’ve reached an impass. There’s a sense of guitar-led stagnation. What is left for the instrument that we haven’t heard before?
Two Door Cinema Club were never indie-rock pioneers or guitar gods. In spite of this, they managed to briefly catch and carry the flame of guitar music – their first album was crammed with pristine guitars that were rich in echo and infectiously rhythmic in a way that was a throwback to indie-rock’s heyday.
Yet with their most recent single, Are You Ready? (Wreck), even this outfit have seemingly let their trademark guitar-driven sound take a step back to bring synths to the forefront. Combining festival-ready singalong hooks, funked up guitar rhythms and sweeping synths that propell the track and back the choral chants, it’s a sound that TDCC have never fully explored. It might have been touched on in the past, but not to this extent.
It’s not a massive surprise that it has come now. After two perfectly good albums elevated by guitar necks, their upcoming album Gameshow might be the one that sees the band take an approach that more and more new artists are embracing: electro-indie or electropop. It’s a trend that has become increasingly popular over the past decade and a high-profile uptake like this demonstrates that the growth is showing no sign of slowing down.
While on the emerging side we have acts such as FEiN who beautifully merge the two sounds, to have a band that has become synonymous with guitar music to slowly ease off on their trademark instrument is a completely different musical statement.
This means one of two things for new guitar-wielding bands: either you’re with the movement or against it. Those with it, who are consolidating guitar riffs with synth-driven hooks, will need to be on top form to stand out and against bigger names. Artists against it, however, have a different challenge: making their guitar music so tight, punchy and remarkable that they fill the void and prove – not once and for all, but for now at least – that guitar music isn’t dead.