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Two Door Cinema Club - Beacon (Album Review)

Friday, 21 September 2012 Written by Emma Dodds
Two Door Cinema Club - Beacon (Album Review)

The news of the release of 'Beacon' was widely regarded in most young adult circles across the UK as one of the most anticipated follow-up albums of the year. Two Door Cinema Club's rise to fame is an interesting one; they started off as some unknown band on a French indie label, who then gained what you might call a cult following through the use of the internet. Do you remember Myspace? It was basicaly known as THE social media platform for music. Virtualy unknown bands starting out in their careers could upload music using Myspace to reach the wider population and garner some interest and attention that way. It's been incredibly successful for quite a few bands, and Two Door (as they are affectionately known) follow suit. To go from this, to having lead singer Alex Trimble sing at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games, well it's pretty incredible. They've pretty much done it all off their own backs, which makes them very personable and likeable, hence the fiercely loyal fanbase who call themselves The Basement People (a line from their track 'Undercover Martyn').

ImageThe first song on 'Beacon' is entitled 'Next Year'. It starts off with a real electro feel and a cool drum beat, and is accompanied by a really brilliant chord progression, however this is not the Two Door sounds that I know and love. Listen on, and we get the familiar sound in between the chorus and the next verse, playful guitar rhythms and an intricate drum pattern which are expanded in the subsequent verse and chorus. The main tune is a bit same-y but it all works! The lyrics indicate a potential love interest that for some reason o another just hasn't come about.

'Handshake' pops up next, with a kind of synth-y sound, again not your typical Two Door. When it gets going a bit more you once again find the familiarity in the guitar pattern that was lacking to begin with. This song is a bit more mysterious and subdued, but it is incredibly catchy. The end drum beat sounds quite familiar as well, maybe they've borrowed it from a track off this album's predecessor, 'Tourist History'. I think this song is about a girl that maybe messed someone about a bit, a heartbreaker.

Now, I am gonna admit that I actually hate the word "funky" (sorry to my mum as she seems to favour it occasionally), but it's the best way of describing 'Wake Up'. It's a wake up (ha) call to those who aren't doing anything with their lives, aimed to give them a bit of get-up-and-go., a pretty cool double meaning. The chorus is BRILLIANT. It's got this interesting effect; it is kind of beefed up by drums and bass for two bars, then they're dropped and it's calmer, then this is repeatedgain. It's really cool. As the song progresses, it gains more hooks. The last line of the middle chorus is very reminiscent of Keane's 'Bend And Break' chorus. The song could do with a bit more oomph overall, but generally it's a goodun.

I'm gonna go ahead and say that I reckon 'Sun' is probably one of my favourite tracks on the album. My first thought was that it was the token ballad, as it starts with soft vocals and a piano. I couldn't be more wrong; this really scratchy electric guitar cuts through. I'm thinking they're experimenting more with their sound on this album - never a bad thing! The chorus is literally amazing, it's got a slightly jazzy feel, with harmonies piled high and a really exciting bass line. The scratchy electric guitar then returns, and somehow it fits right in with the jazz thing, which is then emphasised as the next chorus incorporates some brass. The middle 8 is stripped down a bit and gives a feeling of building up. This song is, I think, about a long distance relationship that can survive the odds, like a reassurance to someone that they can make it. The last line of the middle 8 is "When through that mist I see the shape of you/And I know, and I know that I'm in love with you". It's put quite simply and honestly, and really it's quite refreshing to hear a love story with no coyness and mind games. There's a big chorus to finish and then it ends quite abruptly. I really like this song.

'Someday' is a bit of an oddball for me. Here are the squeaky guitars and fast drums from the previous albums, familiar elements of a Two Door song, but something's different... In all honesty it feels forced, as though they are trying to link themselves back to their original sound. I'm probably wrong, but it just doesn't feel very genuine. I'm more than halfway through listening to this song and I've hardly made any notes... Sory Two Door, I'm not buying this one. Maybe there's something I'm really not getting.

I already know I like 'Sleep Alone', it was given out as a free download a few months ago and I took full advantage of this. Here is the Two Door that I know. It doesn't feel forced like the previous track on the album, but it incorporates the fast drumming and fancy guitar work that we know as quintessential Two Door songwriting. The chorus is really catchy. I feel it's a bit similar to 'Eat That Up, It's Good For You' from 'Tourist History', which I personally found to be a very overlooked song on that album. The middle 8 builds up to a stripped back version of the first half of the chorus, followed by a full pelt rounding off of the first single from the album.

This next song marks the first and (currently) only collaboration with another artist to be released on an album. Valentina Pappalardo is an Italian born 26-year-old songwriter who has grown up in London, and has released a few songs on (you guessed it!) Myspace. There's not much info about her floating around on the internet as yet, but I'm sure after this song has a few plays on the radio, people will pick up on her. She's not actually got a massive part in this song, it doesn't really show off her vocals an awful lot, but what from what we can hear she's got a lovely voice and I'd like to hear more of it. The song starts off sounding a bit Carribean, and is filled with brilliant harmonies. The first verse sounds a bit lonely, but after the proclamation of "I want you with me" in the chorus, this character is no longer alone and sounds as though he's perked up a bit. The violins are a nice touch as well. Very pretty, nice song.

I'm afraid to say that after this song my opinion of the album goes a bit downhill. The subsequent songs are a bit drippy and disappointing in my opinion. 'Settle' is a very inoffensive, calm song that's fine, but bland; 'Spring' has the potential to be a grower-onner with a catchy riff at the start that continues underneath the song, but again it doesn't really have much to it in my opinion. 'Pyramid' has an interesting guitar riff at the start that's really intriguing, and the bass fleshes it out a bit, but the chorus is really heavy, which is quite unlike them. They employ their previous trick of doing A REALLY HEAVY BIT and then stripping it down again suddenly. The middle 8 is alright, then it ends abruptly. There's nothing to this song that is a good hook, it feels as though it hasn't really been developed enough. As the title track, I would expect 'Beacon' to be a real hit, but I didn't really feel it. There's a nice bass riff that really works with the drum beat, and the echo effect on Trimble's vocals is pretty cool. It's not strenuous to listen to, and again it's pretty inoffensive, but I was just expecting more.

So all in all, I'm a little disappointed. But that's normally the case isn't it? It's not a total disappointment though, I love 'Sun', and I'm a big fan of 'Handshake', 'Sleep Alone' and 'The World Is Watching' and 'Wake Up' is pretty good as well. I'm on the fence.

'Beacon' was released on Monday 3rd September on Kitsuné. Two Door Cinema Club tour the UK in early 2013.

Two Door Cinema Club UK & Ireland Tour Dates are as follows:

Sat January 19th 2013 - The O2 Dublin, Dublin
Thu January 24th 2013 - O2 Academy Newcastle, Newcastle
Fri January 25th 2013 - O2 Apollo, Manchester
Sat January 26th 2013 - O2 Apollo, Manchester
Mon January 28th 2013 - Guildhall, Southampton
Tue January 29th 2013 - Rock City, Nottingham
Thu January 31st 2013 - University, Cardiff
Fri February 1st 2013 - O2 Academy Birmingham, Birmingham
Sat February 2nd 2013 - O2 Academy Birmingham, Birmingham
Mon February 4th 2013 - Aberdeen Music Hall, Aberdeen
Tue February 5th 2013 - Barrowland, Glasgow
Thu February 7th 2013 - O2 Academy Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 3AW
Fri February 8th 2013 - O2 Academy Brixton, London
Sat April 27th 2013 - Alexandra Palace, London

Click Here to Compare & Buy Two Door Cinema Club Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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