Tuesday marks the release of Northern Irish rock outfit, Two Door Cinema Club’s much-anticipated sophomore album, “Beacon.” Led by Alex Trimble’s vocals and under the direction of Los Angeles-based producer, Jacknife Lee, the band has made a marked improvement from their first album.
From track to track, it is clear the band members have grown up. They are no longer a group of young guys playing pop-rock songs about inconsequential things. On this record, there is a definite, new undercurrent of yearning, and a special kind of wisdom about the world that comes from being a young adult today. It moves from one song to the next, tying the entire album together as a sort of unconventional musical narrative.
Stand out hits include the first single off of the record, “Sleep Alone,” as well as the first song on the track list, “Next Year,” which starts off with a strong hook and sharp a cappella on Trimble’s part, and then swoops into a melody that will be stuck in any listener’s head for days.
The album leads with its best songs. Easily one of the strongest melodies is in “Handshake,” which also bears one of the darker themes on the record. Following it is “Wake Up,” a Fleet Foxes-esque ode to British rock reminiscent of bands like Your Vegas and The Graduate. It is an odd mix, but Two Door Cinema Club pulls it off with skill.
Then, changing gears, they head in the direction of classic rock with “Sun,” which is a quirky mix of distorted guitars and elements from the disco era that somehow sounds completely modern and present. Lead guitarist Sam Halliday steals the show in the next track, “Someday,” where he whips out some impressively quick chord progressions and shows off his discernible talent. Later on the album, the song “Pyramid” pays homage to the big-band-influenced style of music popularized by current bands like Beirut and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.
Rounding out the album is two of the more somber songs on the record, “Spring” and the title track, “Beacon,” the latter of which veers well off the beaten path and tends toward the experimental more than any of the other tracks.
The songs all carry elements of the outfit’s first album, “Tourist History.” With a few guitar-driven pop tunes and some soft-spoken ballads, “Beacon” has all the potential to be a go-to whether you need background music or a record to play in the car.
On “Beacon,” the band’s high’s are so much higher than with their first release, and its lows are few and far between.
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