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After the success of their 2010 debut, the hype surrounding the release of Two Door Cinema Club‘s second album has been palpable. Lead single ‘Sleep Alone‘ gave us just a taste of what is essentially a more mature, experimental release.
One thing that is clear after listening to Beacon is this is an album purpose-built for one thing – live performance. The immediacy and energy of the songs is infectious, and will undoubtedly draw huge crowds at festivals the world over.
Relentless touring in support of their debut, Tourist History, has clearly made the Irish trio better musicians, and has instilled an awareness of how to craft mature, catchy songs. Not that they weren’t already talented songwriters, but there are fewer weak moments found on this sophomore release.
Their influences are also more pronounced second time around. Opening track ‘Next Year‘ bears more than a passing resemblance to Muse, complete with a Matt Bellamy-inspired guitar solo. While, title track ‘Beacon‘ is strangely redolent of The Stone Roses‘ ‘I Wanna Be Adored‘. Their sound is not contrived though, and retains the innocent Irish charm that made their first album so distinctive.
Catchy songs brimming with youthful positivity is what we expect from this band, but what really makes Beacon stand out is the production. Repeated listens reveal buried layers of lush synths and strings, as well as liberal amounts of cheeky electronics. And, the guitars, which were so upfront on Tourist History, take on a more subdued role. The guitar tones are also varied, lending individual character to each song.
While, the production has generally become more luxurious and expansive, one thing that hasn’t changed is the drums. Simple, mechanical dance beats often coupled with driving synth bass lines are a prominent feature. This works well with the upbeat nature of the songs, but it becomes relentless, even boring at times. A more organic drumming style would be a welcome reprieve to vary the four-to-the-floor monotony.
A more adventurous album than their debut, Beacon is a joyous collection of danceable pop songs with thoughtful lyrics and luscious production. Two Door Cinema Club haven’t altered their sound a great deal, and why would they? They’re clearly having too much fun as it is.
1. Next Year
3. Wake Up
6. Sleep Alone
7. The World Is Watching