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Beacon by Two Door Cinema Club
Beacon is Two Door Cinema Club's second album and was released in the spring of 2012. Their first album 'Tourist History' was released in 2010 and won the Choice Music Prize for album of the year in 2011.
The band hail from Bangor and Donaghadee, County Down in Northern Ireland.
The band is headed by Sam Halliday on vocals and lead guitar, Alex Trimble on vocals, rhythm guitar, beats, synths and Kevin Baird on bass and backing vocals. They formed in 2007 and have been gaining fans ever since.
Halliday and Trimble were already friends in comprehensive school and came across Baird through mutual friends. They formed a band at sixteen called 'Life Without Rory' and entered the local school band contest. They came last! Most people would've been put off by this but not these guys and the rest is history.
Trimble programs all the bands beats and drum sounds and the band have no official drummer, which is quite unusual although not unique. For recording albums and on tour they use session drummer Benjamin Thompson.
So let's take a look at their second album, Beacon.
Track One - Next Year
An upbeat opening to the album and quite a lively track, with some psychedelic guitar vibes thrown in. The vocals are clear and crisp. The whole track is driven along to the fast pace of the drum beat. Some eighties style synthesiser play throughout the track. Reminded me of 'The Flaming Lips' at some points. Trimble is obviously very busy on this track with beats, synth and guitar heading the track.
'Maybe someday, you'll be somewhere, talking to me, as if you knew me. Saying, I'll be home for next year, darling. I'll be home for next year.'
Track Two - Handshake
A synthesiser starts off this track and again is reminiscent of many eighties bands. The base is also prominent. Then the track kicks in with some really raucous guitar play from Trimble.
'She said the devil will want you back and you'll never find love in an open hand. Shut your eyes, so you see under, and know you'll always have this if you stay this man.'
Track Three - Wake Up
Good harmonizing and crisp vocals from Halliday and the boys on the third track of the album. However, the main crux of this track is the rhythm guitar of Trimble. It fairly whines through the track and is supplemented by his synthesiser and programmed beats. Thompsons drum beat is the spine of the tune. The guitar solo on this track is superb and fits really well.
'Tell me you'll feel better, when you're sleeping through the day and I'll tell you how you missed it when you wake.'
Track Four - Sun
Some Mumford and Sons vibes in this track. As well as synthesiser there is a horn section backing to this track and it fits quite well. I like the chorus to this one. Halliday's voice is very clear and strong on this track and Trimble and Baird on good form. There is a brilliant guitar riff and solo from Trimble yet again. The second single release from the album.
'Over and over, many setting suns, I have run, I have waited for the rain to come. When through that mist, I see the shape of you and I know, and I know, that I'm in love with you.'
Track Five - Someday
Love the rhythm to this track. The beat is fast and upbeat and again the lead guitar is the general force behind this one. It simply blasts onto the speakers from the get go. The bass beat and rhythm guitar meld into one funky track and Halliday is again on top form. This track has a bit of a Simple Minds vibe to it.
'There is no time for wasting any time. This is the end of the line, the definite sign of what we will be someday.'
Track Six - Sleep Alone
I already knew this track from having a remixed version with Ellie Goulding's 'Starry eyed'. A cultured track and one with a great beat and rhythm. The first single to be released from the album. A great pop-like chorus with an indie sound. This track was also included in season four of 'The Vampire Diaries' and appeared on the football game Fifa 13.
'And I may go to places I have never been to, just to find the deepest desires in my mind.'
Track Seven - The World Is Watching (with Valentina)
Things slow down at the start of this track but you feel that it won't stay that way for long. The track does then come to life with the chorus exploding onto the speakers. Halliday is backed on the chorus and throughout the track by Valentina.
'Look into your heart; are you happy? You could be the one to set me free and with your hand in mine we will run to a place that knows no one.'
Track Eight - Settle
Probably one of the stronger tracks on the album and destined to become a crowd anthem when played live. Everything fits together nicely on this track. The vocals are again faultless and the guitar, bass and drums smash along at a relentless pace.
'Cause I can see, I can see, all the things arresting me. But I control, I control.
Track Nine - Spring
The guitar intro to this song is great, especially when Halliday's voice comes in over it. Another nice build to this track as seems to be a feature with this band's music. You can feel the rise in the track before it lets go again for the second verse. You just hope it will explode into the next chorus. In a way it does as the guitar wails into full flow. I like this track.
'What did I say? I cannot say I remember, but every word seems so absurd my love.'
Track Ten - Pyramid
This is one of the weaker tracks on the album for me when it first starts but still not a bad one. It just didn't seem like it was going to get going and then the whole song is saved by Trimble's guitar, again! Has that Simple Minds vibe in the guitar sound again and also a little Johnny Marr.
'We have seen what lies beneath the earth. Everything that has ever been and will become.'
Track Eleven - Beacon
For me, this song seemed out of sync with the rest of the album when I first listened to it, but then the guitar kicks in and it sounds brilliant. I am certainly a fan of Alex Trimble's guitar. A nice way to end the album as after the last track and the intro to this one I thought the album was ending on two weaker tracks, but not so in either case.
'The beacon that is calling me. The light that never dies. Reflections thrown above the sea. Casts shadows in the sky.'
A thoroughly enjoyable album that doesn't take itself too seriously. Halliday has a good, soothing voice and Trimble's guitar sounds fantastic; as does his synth work. I would describe Two Door Cinema Club as a tidy band; something to listen to without having to keep switching past tracks or unlikable songs.
I will definitely be listening to it again a few times. I already knew the band but never really got into them or listened to the first album. I may go back and give the first album a try after listening to this one.
I would recommend the album for at least a listen to anyone, but fans of eighties synths and bands with unique guitar sounds like Simple Minds, The Smiths or The Cure will probably like it. Fans of Mumford and Sons and other easy listening indie bands will also appreciate it.
I give Beacon three and a half stars out of five.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Next Year
3 Wake Up
6 Sleep Alone
7 The World Is Watching (with Valentina)