Beacon (noun): A fire or light set up in a high or prominent position as a warning, signal, or celebration.
Two Door Cinema Club couldn’t have picked a more apt name for their second album.
Their 11-song opus sees them leapfrog their former peers, at the same time shining a light on both their supernatural songwriting talent and dazzling growth as a band.
Released just over two years after their award-winning, platinum-selling debut Tourist History, Beacon finds the trio brimming with the kind of confidence only performing in front of hundreds of thousands of fans, on every continent, can bring.
Recorded in five months with Garett ‘Jacknife’ Lee (Weezer, REM, U2) at his studio in Topanga, California, it’s a bold statement of a record. Even more remarkable than its contents is the fact Two Door found the time to make it at all.
“We’ve been touring constantly for two years,” explains the band’s frontman Alex Trimble. “And obviously we wanted to play to everyone that wanted to see us, but the time came when we had to say ‘Enough’ and get to grips with a new record.”
There was an abundance of ideas floating around while the band were travelling but, wise to the pitfalls of writing an album while on the road, the three-piece didn’t rush anything. No one wants to hear clichéd lyrics about hotel rooms and endless coach journeys across the States, meaning the map for what would become Beacon consisted of nothing more than some hastily scribbled notes, Alex’s diary and a bank of melodies he’d hummed into his phone.
“There was a lot of fleshing out to do, but we were amazed how easily things came together,” continues Trimble.
“In Garett, we found our guy, the producer we want to make all our records with. The four of us were completely on the same wavelength. Getting nearer the end of the recording session things were tougher. We wanted the album to have originality and diversity, excitement and consistency.
“We also wanted to push ourselves and feel like we were moving forward, that’s imperative.”
While not writing about their time on tour, movement is one of Beacon’s recurring themes, nowhere more prominent than on opener Next Year and the momentous title track that bookends the record.
Next Year was always destined to open the album; a song about returning somewhere you’ve been before, whether physically or emotionally. Beacon, meanwhile, perhaps the most complex piece Two Door have ever recorded, is one of Alex’s proudest achievements.
“It took a long time to write, and even longer to sound how we wanted. It’s very linear, not a standard verse-verse-chorus song, and at the same time as resolving the album musically, lyrically it leaves things open for album three too.
“You have to think about where you’re going next, and I think we’ve opened up a world of possibilities. There’s definitely more to come.
“That’s something that’s always been prominent in our band. We don’t feel like we’ve made it, no matter what happens, I don’t think we ever will. We’re constantly striving to do better, to work harder, to play to more people.
“That’s the way I always want it to be.”
Alex drew yet another line in the sand when he appeared in the opening ceremony of London 2012, watched by a worldwide audience of billions.
“It was a huge step up for the band,” he says. “It was obviously a great honour and experience, but the timing was impeccable. It was an amazing opportunity we’re hugely grateful for, and it’s made us think about all the other things there are to do.”
And whatever TDCC do achieve, talent, hard work and the mobilisation of an ever-growing fanbase will be responsible rather than industry hype and bottomless marketing budgets.
“Our fans…” he says, referring to the self-styled Basement People, “to say they’re dedicated is an understatement.
“Other people’s faith in what we do is incredible, and it gives us enormous freedom to try new things.
“We concentrate on rewarding that, and continue to do so. We have to carry on pushing the boundaries of what Two Door Cinema Club means.”