Two Door Cinema Club // Beacon // September 3 // Kitsune
As far as I’m concerned, the argument over who provides leaks is over. Days before the London Olympics opening ceremony I was looking at my list of albums that were still to come out this year and my eye passed Two Door Cinema Club’s sophomore LP Beacon. Didn’t think much of it at the time but guess I certainly did as band’s singer Alex Trimble was one of the performers during the said ceremony. The next day album is all over the internet. It just happens to be that it leaked as soon as the band got its biggest publicity push. Good marketing that will help Beacon to be bigger than their debut Tourist History. Just like in sport then, the best ones don’t always win.
What the hell does all of that mean? It’s just that Beacon happens to be a flashier but ultimately, an inferior version of Tourist History. The Northern Irish bunch came into music world at an awkward time when no one in their right mind is interested in guitar pop. Still, their tunes were catchy, punchy and the band were self-conscious enough to understand the temporary nature of their bubble gum indie. Indeed, most of the songs ended up being used for commercial adverts and somehow, without much airplay Two Door Cinema Club’s lads ended up being unexpected princes of the festival circuit. Two years later there is a need to release something new to keep their wallets full. Beacon is that record through and through, no evolution, no upgrading, just more of the same. In Beacon’s case even that’s not entirely enough as the songs on here are so predictable that you will be excused to think that it’s some kind of b-side collection. Weakened songwriting and some completely naff lyrical moments put Two Door Cinema Club right next to bubble gum indie pop abortions like The Wombats and such. Quite a fall from grace.
Beacon is not an album that will blow your mind or leave you overwhelmed by how good or unpredictable it is. In reality this is like the musical version of a comedy starring Adam Sandler, or a romantic movie with, well, anyone. Second and third songs are obvious singles, something that comes close to a couple of ballads in the middle of the record before employing some choirs and spacey textures for final stretch. Two Door Cinema Club is a movie full of cliches by now, they even got a more prominent role for keyboards this time for Christ sakes, how much more generic can you get? Although it’s not entirely synths fault that Beacon is a much weaker offering that Tourist History. Beacon feels much more rigid and serious. Consider that this is the band that wrote the ridiculously infectious I Can Talk, one of the better things to come out on Kitsune in the recent years, and Tourist History’s highlight Something Good Can Work, a song that starts swallowing its own tongue because of the rapid delivery of hooks. Beacon still has the same guitar tone and voice but it also has serious brass arrangements on Sun, compare just how dry they sound placed next to those of Tourist History’s opener Cigarettes In The Theatre. I don’t even consider mentioning the female choir on The World Is Watching. It’s like somewhere along the way to finishing their second record Two Door Cinema Club started to take themselves seriously despite writing music that makes them the British version of Foster The People. Beacon is the faux-meaningful sound of someone making big choruses for festival fields to keep their wallets full. Pathetic.
Simply said, Two Door Cinema Club has let the fame to get to their heads. Beacon sounds far removed from the band that two years ago was fun, quirky and not concerned with being cool. Their best video was basically a recording of them playing inside a room made of blankets. Expect Beacon’s videos to feature the band walking across the field, stuff going round in slow motion and other “deep” things like that. The band that was one of the most fun things in the indie scene is anything but fun now. Few good songs off Beacon will feature on the commercial adverts soon but you’ll be too busy reaching for the remote control.