Review Summary: The Northern Irish trio continue their trip to the top.
Two Door Cinema Club's debut album Tourist History catapulted them to stardom. Instantly they became one of the biggest British bands around. Songs like What You Know combined summery hooks with an impressive level of musicianship for an indie band, so when it came to record number 2, the pressure was on.
Beacon is their attempt at a follow-up. Opening with a one-two punch of 'Next Year' and 'Handshake', it's clear that they haven't failed. Next Year reminds of Hot Fuss era Killers, while Handshake contains verses that are more downbeat than anything on Tourist History, but explodes in time for the insanely catchy chorus. This is a trend throughout a lot of the album, with a darker vibe running through as opposed to the summery tone on their previous material. 'Settle' particularly shows this, with Alex singing "This isn't home, I couldn't feel more alone. I need to feel, I need to feel somebody."
Despite this, the album avoids being depressing overall through it's use of hooks and the instrumentation. Yet again, this band is able to showcase skills above most other bands in the indie-rock genre when it comes to technicality, and the drums are hugely improved. As they do not actually have a full-time drummer, this duty falls to lead singer and rhythm guitarist Alex Trimble when recording. Previously this resulted in very standard patterns, however the growth in his ability is infinite, and there are some nice, much better sounding, drums all over the record. Meanwhile, Kevin Baird on bass continues to impress, and despite Halliday's lead guitar being lower in the mix than before, he still makes guitar lines that will weave their way into your head, as showcased on the likes of Handshake or the title track, Beacon.
If Tourist History had one problem, it was a lack of differentiation between tracks. Here, Two Door Cinema Club try to change this with the inclusion of tracks such as Sun and The World Is Watching. The former is a piano led ballad which allows Alex Trimble's falsetto to truly shine, and features a brilliant use of brass instruments from the midway point onwards that turns what could have been a gloomy affair into something truly celebratory.
The lack of upbeat summery songs in the vein of previous tracks, such as This Is The Life or Something Good Can Work, does mean this is less immediate than it's predecessor, however the album is no worse off for this. While the album does have a few missed, songs such as Handshake, the infectiously catchy Someday, lead single Sleep Alone or the atmospheric Settle prove that they have matured at both song writing and lyrics. Beacon might not rip up the rule book, but it is a great pop album by a young band at the top of their game,