TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB, Shepherd’s Bush Empire – Evening Standard, 7 Sept 2012

A battle for the album chart number one is afoot between two young guitar bands, a situation all too rare in this synthesized age. Two Door Cinema Club’s second album, Beacon, looks like it’s going to come second to the new one from The Vaccines but you wouldn’t guess it from the reception the Northern Irish quartet were afforded here.

Returning to the venue which they played two years ago, a gig that they claimed “was the first time we realised things were going well”, they still generate an extraordinary bounciness among their audience. They might be expected to grow up, introduce a string quartet maybe, but they’re relentless, powerful drums making them a dance band in rock clothing.

New song Next Year upped the electronics, though it fell victim to the second album cliché of moaning about life on the road. Wake Up had a fun new funkiness, while

Sam Halliday’s tight, fast guitar line on Spring felt different. The new material was less accessible than the old faves, however, and there wasn’t an obvious hit to join the likes of Undercover Martyn and Something Good Can Work in creating bedlam.

With his Tintin hairdo and choirboy voice, singer Alex Trimble is far from rock-god material, though his role in the Olympic opening ceremony should have raised his profile. He led the band with confidence but left the heavy lifting to a blinding arena-ready lightshow and the sheer pace of the songs. It was hard to keep up, and zinging tunes such as This is the Life and I Can Talk showed why their large live following keeps following. Despite the number of unfamiliar songs, no one could claim boredom.

Feb 8, O2 Academy Brixton, SW9 (0844 477 2000, o2academybrixton.co.uk); April 27, Alexandra Palace, N22 (0870 444 5556, alexandrapalace.com)

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