Underworld, London, UK - 21/5
Two Door Cinema Club
Written by: TL on 02/10/2012 12:42:14
When I gave an 8 to Two Door Cinema Club's debut LP "Tourist History" little under two years ago, I did so worrying if I was overgrading it a little, because I was starved for other good records at the time. Observing the band's growing facebook fan count, and their prominence on tour posters and in internet mentions however, it seems I wasn't the only person to take a liking to them, and hence their follow up "Beacon" is a record that has arrived to my questions of whether it's going to be the disc that thoroughly breaks TDCC into indie-rock stardom.
If you haven't heard of the band yet however, allow me to introduce them as a trio from Northern Ireland who deal in light, floaty, bubbly, upbeat, electro-tinged indie-rock. On the debut "Tourist History" they did so at tempos that were often borderline frantic, but here on "Beacon" they've slowed down slightly, imbuing the sound with newfound tempo and with patience that aligns them closely with similarly atmospheric-yet-charming propositions like bands like Bombay Bicycle Club, The Maccabees or Air Bag One. Whether or not they're a good band is a non-discussion as soon as you put "Beacon" on, because from the rousing opening effects of "Next Year", through the frequent and classy usage of both electronics and supplemental instruments (there are quite a few horns in here), it's plain for all to hear that these guys have a mixture of cool-yet-emotive that sounds more than ready for wider appreciation.
The main problem for Two Door Cinema Club on "Beacon", is that they only occasionally capitalise fully on all their imminent qualities. The album is vibrant with quirky riffs and effects that get your attention immediately and greet you welcome back on repeat listens, but often the feeling you have listening is one of having your attention thus summoned, only for it to wane slowly until the next cool part comes back and stirs it up again. I'm having a hard time determining whether it's a lacking consistency in emotion, atmosphere or just a consequence of lead singer Alex Trimble remaining a bit too neat in the role of the calm indie singer - He has standout moments, for instance in "Sun", where he shines in a rare calm moment towards the end, but more often I get the feeling that I'm found wanting a bit more emotion or some slightly more exotic melodies from him, while he's in focus between cool instrumental bits.
My verdict on "Beacon" then is that it is a bit of a hit and miss record. It has plenty of moments, like in "Suns" but also in "Someday", "Sleep Alone" and "Handshake" that feel electrifying when you get to them, but it isn't consistent enough to have that effect where it lingers with you for long after its playtime, compelling you strongly to come back and listen again. In that sense it's a lot like Bombay Bicycle Club's "A Different Kind Of Fix", which is a record I have liked each time I've listened to it, it just very often gets overlooked in favour of comparatively stronger records, simple as that. If you liked that record however, or records similar to it, then this naturally comes highly recommended. For me though, while I've thoroughly enjoyed it, it's just outside of the "Considered For Albums Of The Year Club".
Download: Handshake, Sun, Someday, Sleep Alone, Spring
For The Fans Of: Bombay Bicycle Club, The Maccabees, Air Bag One, Foals, Airship
Release Date 31.08.2012
Kitsuné / Glassnote Records