Two Door Cinema Club, ‘Beacon’ – Album Review
The debut album from Two Door Cinema Club, ‘Tourist History,’ dropped in 2010, and from the spaz-pop drums in opener ‘Cigarettes in the Theater,’ the Northern Irish trio made it clear that they intended to carve out a spot for themselves in the ever-bustling field of new, hooky Britpoppers looking for a piece of success.
Armed with a jittery affinity for melody and a power-pop sensibility derived from countrymen the Undertones, the NME-approved band managed to make respectable headway on the U.K. charts and stateside festival circuits without ever blowing up proper.
Now comes the band’s sophomore album, ‘Beacon,’ made with the help of Irish producer and remixer Jackknife Lee, who has lent his ear to recordings by U2, R.E.M., Snow Patrol and the Cars, whose shockingly decent comeback album dropped last year.
From the jump-off, Two Door Cinema Club don’t shy away from showing off their new tricks. ‘Next Year’ plays out like the perfect outro music for a season finale of ‘The O.C.: 2012,’ but it features a little refrain that finds the three guys harmonizing for no reason other than they have something to prove.
‘Beacon’ continues with the band, for better or worse, steering safely in the electro-pop lane, keeping the songwriting inoffensive and adding a timid amount of “soar here” anthemics at the correct times.
Sometimes playing by the rules and painting by the numbers isn’t just a safe move — it’s the right one. With this album, Two Door Cinema Club certainly keep it safe. Often, the songs can come off as samey-same, but there’s just enough sleek style and pep to keep it interesting. Still, the album just never really launches as a group of songs, and as soon as it’s over, it’s out of your head.
But bonus points for using the album art to shout out either ‘Now You Are One of Us’ by the Paper Chase or that great “the sun shines out of our behinds” line from ‘Hand in Glove’ by a certain Britpop demigod whose name we need not even mention.