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Pop Passion Opens Doors

It's not delivered as a manifesto. But when Alex Trimble outlines the objective of Two Door Cinema Club he nails the impulse that traditionally marks out great bands from their second string contemporaries.

"It's important to us that the songs we write have a strong pop basis," he says. "Good melodies. It's a testament to a good song if you can strip it down and play it with acoustic guitar and a singer and it still sounds good. That's a sign that you've written a good song."

Trimble's trio, from Bangor in Co Down, have released a debut album that's a ten-track compendium of infectious melody, irresistible beats, quirky hooks and sonic oddity. No wonder the band are one of the hot tips for 2010.

Tourist History is a pop fizz bomb. A manic melange of explosive sonic devices that range from the New Gold Dream electro sweep of Simple Minds to the stuttering brilliance of Orange Juice, the ambient sheen of Air, the percussive attack of Afro-beat and the nervy pop jingles of Vampire Weekend and Foals.

The success of Trimble's objective can readily be heard on the album opener, Cigarettes In The Theatre. The track begins with a bleeping synth like some lost sputnik before galvanising with a hectic beat and furious guitar riffage. This montage is quickly followed by a major gear shift as the song kicks in. Initially, it feels like it shouldn't work. But after a few listens it becomes blindingly clear that Two Door Cinema Club are a full-on hyper-pop assault course.

Instructively, on their MySpace page there's an acoustic version of the song, cleverly filmed on the Belfast ferris wheel. Although unplugged, you can sense the song's in-built rhythms. The metamorphosis for the album might seem dazzling but singer Trimble, Kevin Baird (bass) and guitarist Sam Halliday have been working at their craft since they were 15.

"Every time we write a song, we record it," explains Alex. "We have the facilities to do that. I personally was always really interested in production and recording. I'd spent a lot of my time and money in getting the expertise and equipment to do that. We were quite lucky in that respect. By the time we went to make a record, we had the basis of how we wanted everything to sound already there."

The band's ideas were channelled through producer Eliot James, who's worked with Noah and The Whale, Kaiser Chiefs and Bloc Party.

The band's ability to turn out a chorus can be heard on the repetitive Do You Want It All?, which is as bright and breezy as a hi-gloss television commercial.

Both last year's singles, I Can Talk and Something Good Can Work, are featured. The frenetic video for I Can Talk was filmed in Paris. Its fun costume-change theme reflects the record label's other obsession, fashion.

The band have chosen ten energetic songs for their album debut. Trimble's voice brims with innocence and optimism, even when recounting a meeting with a former girlfriend (Cigarettes In The Theatre). "We'll just keep talking on," he yelps.

Apart from the memorable vocal hooks, another outstanding feature is Halliday's guitar inventiveness. But it's the overall effect of the band's sound that's mesmerising. It seems that the trio's decision to skip university and concentrate on music hasn't backfired. Even the band's families are now coming around to the idea.

"My parents were very sceptical," admits Alex. "They definitely had a right to be so. It's a really tough industry and it's something that's very hard to break into ... they obviously had the right to tell me that I was crazy and that I should go to university. But we... worked as hard as we could. We wrote songs and got in touch with as many people as we could. Now everyone around us is really supportive."

In April and May, the band tour America and Canada. On Sunday they play the NME Awards Show at the Academy, Dublin. ***