A beacon of assured musical skill and style

Eamon Carr

Two Door Cinema Club Beacon (Kitsune)

A STUTTERING, strangulated guitar figure intros the new album by the Co Down trio who exploded on to the pop firmament two years ago with Tourist History when they signed to the French fashion house and label.

A million album sales later, Alex Trimble croons, "I don't know where I'm going to rest my head tonight..."

The song Next Year is TDCC's impressive take on road weariness, a subject that's long intrigued musicians. Usually associated with bleating heavy rockers or wasted soloists, expression of late-night regret and longing have seldom sounded as bright as this.

While their debut album came with the delightful rough edges that are the hallmark of a young band, Beacon marks a quantum leap in musical self-assurance. Quietly audacious, it makes light of its reassembling of vintage pop tropes and avant-garde stylings.

While producer Jacknife Lee's guidance and encouragement shouldn't be overlooked, it's Trimble's high vocal, teetering at times on the edge of falsetto, which demands attention.

Lee's experience with U2 and REM undoubtedly helps Handshake rattle with thunderous intent, like Billy Mackenzie's The Associates cavorting with Alan Vega's Suicide. "I want to show you how much I've left to lose..."


The band have been around the world a few times since they were last in the studio. Things are happening. Lady Gaga's invited them to remix one of her tracks. Trimble popped up singing Caliban's Dream in the Olympic Games opening ceremony.

Along the way, they've beefed up their distinctive hi-life guitar arpeggios and added more attack to their drum patterns. You'll hear the development on the nervy single Sleep Alone and Some Day, a crafted stomping Hi-NRG slice of arena pop rock that will serve them well in concert.

Settle rattles along with strident, melancholy intent. "I want to feel less alone," sings Trimble, confirming his assertion that this album is "more intimate". They don't disappoint.