“Beacon” – Two Door Cinema Club

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I still remember the first time I heard Two Door Cinema at a concert. They weren’t playing at the show but were being played by the DJ during the intermission between bands. I have never even seen this band live. But I have loved everything that they have put out up to this point. Their second full-length album, Beacon, is no exception.

What makes Beacon just ever so slightly better than their first album, Tourist History, is the fact that the production shows off more actual instrumentation. Two Door Cinema Club sounds more like a rock band on their new album than on previous releases. However, you can still pick out occasional electronic elements like those commonly found on Tourist History.

Beacon kicks off with a track called “Next Year,” which shows off lead singer Alex Trimble’s classic-style vocals, smooth and precise. Personally, I think you can hear a lot of The Killers in this song. “Handshake” follows up the first track nicely, sounding very similar but keeping things interesting. The third track, “Wake Up,” shows that Two Door Cinema Club is starting to develop a real edge to some of their songs, again more so than on their debut album. Heavy choruses are a nice change for a band that was once primarily electronic. Another nice change comes in the next track, “Sun,” which is primarily a funk song. Bassist Kevin Baird provides a groovy, driving bassline – the best bassline on the album in my opinion (yes, I’m a bassist) – and the horns thrown into the chorus are definitely a great addition. Track five, “Someday,” seems to be a fan favorite. The guitar riffs are pretty tasty, which is a plus since the song relies so heavily on guitar. “Sleep Alone,” the first official single off the album, follows, and it sounds a lot like Tourist History-era Two Door Cinema Club. The band slows things down with “The World Is Watching,” which is a pleasant change of pace. Little-known singer Valentina provides beautiful harmonies and choruses nicely backed by strings and synth. “Settle” is much of the same but in the form of a sweet sugary electronic ballad. The rest of the album seems to take a dive here though, and many elements of the previous songs are repeated. If I had the option, I would take “Spring” off the record, keep “Beacon” for the sole purpose of it being the title track, and keep the record to ten songs like Tourist History. That way, the album stays to the point and listeners can get through the entire album without getting bored from hearing the same elements implemented in multiple songs.

All in all, besides slightly dying off towards the end, Beacon is a fantastic album if you like skillful guitar riffs, driving drums and basslines, great melodies, and fitting synth. Trimble sings about love, loneliness, the subconscious, sleeping, and pretty much nonsense where the other subjects don’t apply, so what else do you really need lyrically? If you liked Tourist History, you’ll love Beacon. And If you’ve never heard of Two Door Cinema and like The Killers, I would highly recommend this album.

-Joe MacPhee

Recommended Jams: Next Year, Wake Up, Sun, Someday

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