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Nutshell Album Review: Two Door Cinema Club – Beacon

Sighs of relief have erupted as the musical super month has come. September 2012 promised great things in the music industry, and other than Muse’s new album being pushed back to October, it hasn’t been a disappointment. One of the most exciting things was the return of the Irish, out-of-nowhere-super-indie-pop-dance-fun band Two Door Cinema Club with their second LP, Beacon. Following up an album like platinum-selling Tourist History is always a challenge, plus I’m sure the trio was just peachy about adding the second-album jitters to that. But they came out swinging, and you couldn’t expect anything else from the 2011-2012 festival staple, who spent more than enough time teasing fans that they were more than ready to put out a new album (and the release of random, just-for-kicks single “Hands Off My Cash, Monty” sure didn’t help). Sure enough, the final product is mind blowing, and never has it been more clear that the industry may be too easy for one particular group.

“Next Year” is a phenomenal opening track. First off, this is the only time that I will not call house synths like this corny. It was done in a magical way, and if you had the 15 seconds of buildup and held breath before the song turns into something the fans were waiting for, you’re golden. “Handshake” is the next song, quickly recognizable as the teaser track released months ago with the album’s promo video. This song also heavily features the token Two Door Cinema Club sound, with the poppy guitar riffs and upbeat drum tracks. It also marks the beginning of a trend throughout the album of a larger emphasis on bass and vocalist Alex Trimble hitting lower notes. “Wake Up” has a groove to it that hasn’t yet been heard from the Irish trio, with Trimble cranking out Thom Yorke-style vocals on the verses and gritty rock solos used to transition between choruses and verses. “Sun” has a pretty opening that turns into a slowed down, but equally fun version of a Two Door song. It takes a melting pot of everything heard on Tourist History, adds a horn section, and slows down the tempo to create a very unique track. Nonetheless, it stands out and is definitely a track to look out for.

“Someday” explodes into a thick fog of the sound the band made famous two years ago. The almost-synth-pad guitar sounds and fast drums sound almost identical to their earlier sound. “Sleep Alone”, the album’s first single, is another song that quickly draws comparison to the band’s early work. It is one of Beacon‘s powerhouse songs that you can expect to be hearing for a long time (and don’t worry, it’s already hitting radio stations). “The World Is Watching” has a very different, almost beachy sound to it that is reminiscent of Young The Giant. A song with a catchy riff, huge percussion support from the toms, and multi-range vocal harmonies (including female guest vocalist Valentina), this is a song that is sure to stick in your head and remind everyone that they’re mad about Summer’s end. “Settle” starts very subdued, and shows Two Door’s mastery of the big explosion. It is able to take the most quiet and subtle verse part of the record and turn it into the most powerful chorus in a matter of two beats. Then to top it off, it manages to toy with the muscles in your legs for 4 minutes, wondering if and when you’ll start dancing again.

“Spring” is another diverse track with a groove, with another big emphasis on the bass part. The musical interludes are extremely memorable and recognizable, along with with entrancing lyrics (“One more day is not enough”) that are truly just adorable. “Pyramid” is another slow starter, with the groove mentioned before combining with a solid house-style build up. The kicker is that it instead erupts in normal fashion for these three, only to drop back down to the jazzy-groove level shortly after. It isn’t until around the 2 minute mark that you hear the song hit its stride and retain its power in common electro-pop form. The album then closes with title track “Beacon”, a song that seems like the ball of a six-way ping pong match, where each player is a different end of the spectrum Two Door Cinema Club has touched upon.

With a month as big musically as this one is shaping up to be, there are some generally big albums that just need to be skipped over due to exponentially bigger albums, and Beacon seemed to fall in the irritating purgatory of “no one really knows how this is going to turn out, do they?” Two Door Cinema Club is part of the gargantuan handful of this generation’s underrated bands, and they proved to the world everything else they needed to that was leftover from Tourist History. The Irish trio not only proved that they are the princes of European electronic indie pop (and apparently 3-4 minute songs that start with the letter “S”), but also that they know how to cut a new, interesting, and just generally awesome album. Twice. Beacon takes a commanding 94/100, and you can get your paws on your own copy today.

Beacon Tracklisting:

  1. Next Year
  2. Handshake
  3. Wake Up
  4. Sun
  5. Someday
  6. Sleep Alone
  7. The World Is Watching
  8. Settle
  9. Spring
  10. Pyramid
  11. Beacon

 

Top Albums To Look Out For

There has been some recent buzzing and single circulation that has everyone all excited about new albums (some confirmed, others speculated). Here is Nutshell’s top albums to look out for in the upcoming months:

Beck – With the recent release of the “I Just Started Hating Some People Today/Blue Randy” single, Beck’s various projects seem to be coming full circle to scream “NEW ALBUM”. “Looking For A Sign” was another single released by Beck earlier this year, plus reports by country singer Dwight Yoakam and bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen that he’s been in the studio. Nothing official yet, but expect it soon.

Animal Collective (Centipede Hz, due out September 4th) – After spending the large part of their 2011 tour debuting new material, Animal Collective officially announced their tenth album this past May. The cover and tracklisting have both been released, along with the non-album “Honeycomb/Gotham” single. The now 13 year old band has really hit every end of the musical spectrum, so be excited to see what they’ve come up with.

Two Door Cinema Club (Beacon, due out September 4th) – Earlier this month, Two Door’s second album was announced, including all of the info seen here. The release video that included teaser tracks has all fans of the band excited for the follow up to the platinum-selling Tourist History. This is really helping set up September 4th as a pretty great day in music.

The Strokes – Not much to be said here, other than the fact that three of the five band members have released some form of information regarding the completion of their fifth album. No title or new singles yet, but the follow up to Angles will be something to look out for.

MGMT (MGMT, no release date) – MGMT’s third studio album has received a lot of press coverage, and most of it concludes that the band is in the studio with no solid evidence of new material yet. They have been playing a new song on their South American tour called “Alien Days”, and at one point confirmed that Andrew VanWyngarden had written a handful of R.E.M. inspired songs. No singles yet, but more will come soon enough.

Muse (The 2nd Law, due out September 17th) – Muse has spent the time between their Grammy winning fifth album The Resistance and its follow up album recreating their sound. An album trailer was released on their website on June 6th, along with a countdown clock that was later tied to the release date of The 2nd Law. The band cites groups like Justice and Does It Offend You, Yeah? as influences for the album, so a world of Muse fans will be excited to hear the new sound as soon as possible.

Phoenix – Another one with no large-scale information, Phoenix’s fifth studio album has been a generally well-contained secret. The only thing to show for the recording process are a few stills that have been posted on the band’s website and reports of a late Summer 2012 release. The current photo on the band’s site is the word “Thermidor”, a month from the French Republican Calendar that spans from July 19th to August 18th, so expect some new Phoenix music around then.

If you have any more suggestions of albums to keep your eyes peeled for, comment or tweet it! @NSMusicGroup

Two Door Cinema Club NEW ALBUM ANNOUNCED

Throughout the last few days, details on Two Door Cinema Club’s new sophomore album Beacon have been released through the band’s website and Twitter account. The excitement has reached such levels that #tdccbeacon became a trending topic on Twitter, and this video that gave out the initial release date has hit over 27,000 views on YouTube. Based on the teaser tracks available, this album is going to make all Two Door Cinema Club lovers rejoice due to the band’s retaining of the same musical independence from their platinum debut album Tourist History. The album is due out September 3rd (September 4th for U.S.A./Canada), and the tracklisting is as follows:

1. Next Year
2. Handshake
3. Wake Up
4. Sun
5. Someday
6. Sleep Alone
7. The World Is Watching (with Valentina)
8. Settle
9. Spring
10. Pyramid
11. Beacon

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