Friday, 14 September 2012

Flynndie Reviews: Blog #30 - Two Door Cinema Club - Beacon

Written 14th September 2012:

Two Door Cinema Club – Beacon

The Band: Alex Tremble (lead vocals/guitar/synths/percussion), Kevin Baird (bass/synths/vocals), Sam Halliday (guitar/synths/vocals)

So recently saw the return of Bangor’s very own Two Door Cinema Club with the release of their 2nd album ‘Beacon’, the follow-up to their highly impressive debut album ‘Tourist History’ (which I previously reviewed here in Blog #11). At the time I awarded that record “8 family-sized bags of popcorn out of 10” and suggested that “these lads are a good one to watch out for in the long-term future as well”. So fast-forward 18 months since that review and the band have released their follow-up album but does this new record live-up to the high standards set by their first album and fulfil the early potential shown by the band? Well hopefully, we can cover that question in today’s review and find out what their latest offering brings.

Now Showing

1. Next Year
2. Handshake
3. Wake Up
4. Sun
5. Someday
6. Sleep Alone
7. The World is Watching (with Valentina)
8. Settle
9. Spring
10. Pyramid
11. Beacon

‘Next Year’ gets us underway with trademark synths that the band are well known for before being accompanied by an upbeat percussion rhythm and then both suddenly pausing as Alex’s distinct voice opens “I don’t know where I/Am going to rest my head tonight” before being re-accompanied by the opening synths, percussion and now an excellent, catchy guitar riff during the verses of the track. The track ebbs and flows nicely for the listener and even features a Muse-esque guitar riff midway through and overall gets the record of to a steady start. Next up we have ‘Handshake’ which opens with very much an 80’s style synth melody before the track gathers pace with guitars after 30 seconds. The synths continue to pulse throughout the heart of the track as guitars gently flow in the background before an incredibly catchy, sing-a-long chorus “She said the devil will want you back/And you’ll never find love in another man/Shut your eyes, so you’ll see young girl/And know you always have this if it’s needed back”. It’s quite an instant track, and the verses cleverly build to the big crescendo chorus.

‘Wake Up’ follows next and has a modest bass and drum rhythm initially pushing the track along, before trademark duelling guitars bridge midway through the track. The track is constantly building with guitars steadily duelling throughout before big vocals come in from Alex on the second half of the track “You got lost, lost through the night/It’s no loss, you’ll be alright”, at this point giving the track a big, epic feel to it. ‘Sun’ opens with delicate piano and Alex’s distinct vocals with the line “Ocean Blue/What have I done to you?” and features a gentle backing ‘electronic’ guitar riff throughout. It’s a very well-polished track with a backing brass section in its latter stages and is actually a nice ballad for the album. ‘Someday’ starts off with an excellent rollercoaster of a guitar riff from Sam, while Alex belts out lines “Is it a race or a chase/It’s a difficult one/Are you running faster and further away/Or just trying to keep up”. This is one of my favourite tracks on the album; it’s instantly catchy and again helps to create a big sound for the band. I could easily see this being a future single for the band. Speaking of which previous single from the album ‘Sleep Alone’ shows up next and features a fast drum rhythm against gentle guitar riffs before the band again up the tempo, with a fast and urgent rhythm as Alex’s lyrics possible portray an individual’s battle with Insomnia “He Sleeps Alone\He needs no army where he’s heading\Cause he knows they’re just ghosts\And they can’t hurt him”, this is again a big-sounding, instant track and fitting return single for the band. ‘The World is Watching (with Valentina)’ follows next and is a gloriously, beautiful track! Opening with a chilled out, calypso guitar rhythm this time we find Alex’s vocal are backed throughout the track by beautiful female vocals, possibly the Valentina of the track title itself, and although that description may sound cheesy in this review, on the record itself, this track is brilliantly put together and surprisingly works very well on the album.

Just when you starting thinking what else can these three Northern Irish lads have up their sleeves next on this record, they then turn with possibly the standout track on the album for me ‘Settle’. Unwinding with a soft, looping guitar riff the track steadily builds into a big crescendo of guitars, drums and bass and I could easily see a track like this have an entire crowd captivated by every guitar note though it’s epic journey, this is simply a brilliantly, beautiful track and the highlight of the album for me. We come back down with ‘Spring’ but with a subtly infectious picking guitar riff this is cleverly done, and again we find another track that starts slow but gathers momentum throughout while never leaving the listener behind such is the brilliance of the melody of the track. Another instant type of track, you can’t help but get caught up in the flow of the pacey guitar melodies here.

Penultimate track ‘Pyramid’ opens with one of the more understated guitar riffs on the album, a little quirky but a sound that helps to portray that associated with the mystery of the song title’s architecture, before the band pulling off their seemingly effortless trick of throwing in yet another incredibly catchy chorus and guitar riff right in the middle of the track, this is another great track on the record. Title-track ‘Beacon’ closes the album and features piano backed against a steady guitar rhythm and drum percussion, while an echo is used against Alex’s voice to great effect in its building verse before, yes you’ve guessed it, another effortlessly catchy chorus, it helps rounds off the record nicely.

So I must admit I had quite high hopes for this record leading up to its release. I’d always enjoyed the band’s debut album ‘Tourist History’ and I was hoping this album might steadily build on it but if I’m being honest I think this record not only matches their debut album but actually take the band and their music on to another much-higher level here, with no disrespect intended to their also brilliant debut. What we have here is a genuine ‘Album of the Year’ contender for me, with excellently crafted tracks, layered with brilliantly catchy synths and some outrageously good guitars riffs and rhythms throughout the record. There is no question for me that the tracks written on this album are designed for headlining the big summer festivals and arena tours and this may actually be fitting as I can genuinely see the band moving up to this level within the next few months as I think this is a record that will gain a genuinely big following via word of mouth and the potentially excellent singles this album could deliver in the future. I can genuinely only see big things for this band in the future, they’re just too good for anything else in my book, so get on board ‘Beacon’ now then as I’m going to award this album a precedent 9 Summer Blockbusters out of 10!

Cinema Goer

Track 5 ‘Some Day’ (Live at Belsonic)

Track 6 ‘Sleep Alone’

Track 8 ‘Settle’

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