Saturday, July 23, 2011

The World Weary Sound of Beirut

BEIRUT have risen to a blog level of fame due to the infusion of Middle Eastern instrumentation into a folk pop sound led by Zach Condon and his musings on life, love and politics. Now on their third record, "The Rip Tide", Beirut seeks to move into the mainstream by honing their sound and smoothing out the edges.

From the opening horns of "A Candle's Fire" it is obvious that Condon has a pop sensibility to his work. "Santa Fe" is a straight up pop song about moving on and away from the comforts of home. The piano line drives the song like a car on a dusty road. 'East Harlem", the records first single, sounds more like a traditional Beirut song with flourishes of old style piano and horns dripping off the song as it rambles around Condon's vocals. "Goshen" shows off the band's epic sensibilities as the slow ballad gives way to a sweeping collage of sounds and Condon's soaring falsetto. The second half of the record does get a bit repetitive as the songs sort of blend together. Things come to a nice close with the acoustic "Port of Call" that echoes the themes of moving away from the things one loves. You can almost see Condon playing this one in Union Station waiting for change from people passing by.

Beirut have all the potential to challenge bands like ARCADE FIRE as the new generation of important bands. This move to a more mainstream sound is the first step.

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