If you aren't already familiar with Northern Ireland's Two Door Cinema Club, you're in luck. Their sophomore full-length, Beacon, encapsulates everything great about this band. Walls of sound built from stone cold grooves drip with shimmering guitars.
Fans of Phoenix, This Town Needs Guns and The Bravery will feel sonically at home with these guys.
Granted, Beacon may lack a little bit of the rawness of their 2010 debut, Tourist History, but this is of little concern to even the most discerning ears. Strong songwriting and classy hooks keep Beacon well within classic Two Door Cinema Club territory, and what they might have lost in energy, they made up for by giving us a fuller, all-around better sounding album.
Recorded in LA in early May, it's hard not to wonder if some of the sunniness of their surroundings crept into the tracks. This album is much brighter and more cheerful than Tourist History, which was already pretty damn cheerful. Some tracks even cross the line into downright feel-good pop.
Fans of the group will immediately notice that this album is much more synth-heavy than their previous release. The other instruments still shine, but the synth is instantly more prominent, and that's OK. Songs like "Sleep Alone" and "The World is Watching" would lack quite a bit of their pizzazz if one were to take out those catchy synth hooks.
Clocking in at only 40 minutes, Beacon can feel a little short, and a few of the tracks do get a little homogenous, but to say that this is a strong album would be an understatement. You might not be sure which song the part you're humming came from, but I guarantee you'll be humming it all day.
To make a long review short, this is a second great album from one great band that is finally gaining some of the worldwide recognition that they deserve. Beacon might not be anything different from what Two Door Cinema Club has offered us before, but if it isn't broken, I can't ask them to fix it.
If you like your indie-pop with a pinch of dance mixed in, or if you're just a fan of stellar songwriting and brave guitar work, then Beacon is absolutely an album you need to check out.