BEIRUT The Rip Tide (Pompeii Recordings)
This is the first album that I have tried from Beirut, for the simple reason that, once I had seen the picture on the cover of their March of The Zatopec EP with Zach Condon posing with his tuba, and reading reviews that mentioned Balkan bedroom electro-pop, I really did not think it was for me. Now four albums into their career I heard whisperings that Zach had started write to what we would call proper songs, and so now is the time to give them a try. Initial samplings were promising, with A Candles Fire and Santa Fe actually being very good, and even though he still seems to want to experiment with the arrangements witness the mariachi band on Santa Fe - I did really like them. Not having heard any of their other work I cant compare these songs to earlier output by the band, but the consensus seems to be that this is more of a band album than previous efforts, although it is still Condons baby. East Harlem is pretty straight-forward indie pop, even singalong in places, while Goshen is an introspective ballad, given haunting overtones by the addition of a muted brass band and military drumbeats. Paynes Bays accordian and violin intro give it a Parisian feel, and the Eurobeat rhythm carries this through the whole song. Vagabond has some of the most overt lyrics on here - while all the songs seem to be about searching for ones inner self, this one spells it out in a jaunty indie pop song. The Peacock is a decidedly odd little piece, with just a few organ chords as backing, until a trumpet floats in towards the end, and a repeated refrain of hes the only one that knows the words. Dont quite know where he was going with that one, but it is not unpleasant so I will let it go. Port Of Call is the song on here that really stands out a memorable melody and good performance make it the one that you remember after the album is over. And then it is all over just 33 minutes and nine songs on this latest offering from Beirut. I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised at just how much I enjoyed this album, but that doesnt necessarily mean that I will seek out their back catalogue as I still think much of it will not be for me but dont let me stop you if you want to do so after hearing this fine little album.
A Candle's Fire