Northern Ireland’s three-piece indie rock group Two Door Cinema Club found huge success with their 2010 debut, Tourist History. The band is back with an emotionally deeper yet consistently catchy sophomore album, Beacon. On first listen, Beacon sounds like Tourist History: Part 2 with its abundance of boisterous choruses and fidgety guitar riffs. However, while Tourist History exploded with cheerful angst and nervous lyrics like “you would look a little better/don’t you know/if you just wore less makeup?” (“Eat That Up, It’s Good For You”), Beacon is markedly bolder and more self-assured.
Lyrically, Beacon focuses on the lonesomeness of touring and being away from home. The opening track, “Next Year,” features frontman Alex Trimble lamenting, “I don’t know where I am going to rest my head tonight” while “The World is Watching” resonates isolation with lyrics like, “everyone is here except for me.” Standout track “Handshake” is Beacon at its darkest (although, to be fair, still fairly peppy), with Trimble crying the unexpectedly sinister line, “the devil will want you back/and you’ll never find love with an open hand.”
The problem with Beacon, as was the problem with Tourist History, is that one song is nearly indistinguishable from the next. The glossy, formulaic pop is pleasant to listen to but lacks any real creativity. TDCC have the tendency to sound like mall music (albeit really good mall music) even through the driving synth and tinkling guitar. Emotional lyrics lose their effectiveness within catchy hooks and shiny production. TDCC take on the daunting task of making meaningful but accessible pop. What results is a band that could easily be called a one-trick pony, but is really more of a one-trick disco-pop unicorn.
Contact Grace Lovio at [email protected]
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