TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB
Two Door Cinema Club blasted onto the airwaves in 2010 with its debut “Tourist History.” The group’s wistful and perfectly constructed ditties about youth and love lodged them firmly in the indie set and spread optimism through the hearts of losers and geeks with a positive love song, “Something Good Can Work.”
With its second album “Beacon,” the Northern Ireland trio keeps that flame alive. The band continues its shoe-gazing style but with added twists. There’s an electro spin on some of the tracks, showing the boys are capable of concocting more than guitar riffs, and they’ve gained more swagger since the release of their debut.
Precision is key with Two Door Cinema Club songs and they never miss a beat throughout “Beacon.”
First single “Sleep Alone” pulsates with a steady drumbeat and is melancholic and full of yearning as Alex Trimble sings, “Hold me close/I’ve never been this far from home.” And “Handshake” is interestingly punctuated with an electronic pulse throughout. “Next Year” is cleverly constructed, giving vocals, electronics and guitar space to breathe, and is lyrically optimistic. “I’ll be home for next year darling,” they promise.
The record doesn’t have as many standout songs as “Tourist History,” but still sees the band heading in an interesting indie disco direction and shows they did not slip into the second-album doldrums.
— Sian Watson, Associated Press
“Gravity” (Reach Records)
Christian rapper Lecrae doesn’t fit the typical mold of a gospel artist. His arms are covered with tattoos, he normally sports his hats tilted to the side and often wears slightly sagging pants.
Don’t let that be a distraction. The Houston native is a true talent with a unique ability to deliver thought-provoking messages on life without sounding like a Bible-thumping preacher. His rap approach has earned him praise by many in hip-hop, from veteran rapper Bun B to Lupe Fiasco.
On his sixth album “Gravity,” Lecrae delivers a strong piece of work. He’s not afraid to rap about his past mistakes, supplying inspirational rhymes filled with Christian values backed by well-produced secular hip-hop beats.
One of the best songs on the 15-track album is the DJ Khalil-produced “Mayday,” featuring rapper Big K.R.I.T. and 2011 American Idol contestant Ashthon Jones. Big K.R.I.T. is impressive on the soulful song, and Lecrae insightfully raps with substance: “Now I found true religion and it’s not inside no denim/and the overpriced shades will never give you vision.”
Lecrae attempts to educate about the pitfalls of street life on the high-energy “Violence.” On “Confe$$ions,” he raps that having an abundant amount of money doesn’t always equal happiness.
Other standout tracks are “Free From It All,” featuring Mathai, “Walk With Me,” with Novel, and “Tell the World,” including Mali Music. “Lucky Ones,” featuring Rudy Currence, is a piano-driven song where Lecrae raps about being fortunate to receive a second chance in life through faith.
— Jonathan Landrum Jr., Associated Press