Here we have No No No, the first Beirut album since 2011’s The Rip Tide. Here, Zach Condon and friends take a more direct, in-the-studio approach to their sound, somewhat more stripped down in instrumentation than past Beirut work, but still keeping it international, of course. On 4AD, on special limited green vinyl if you’re lucky.
Vinyl LP £15.49 CADD3525
LP on 4AD.
- Shipping cost: £3.35 ?
CD £6.99 CAD3525CD
CD on 4AD.
- Shipping cost: £1.05 ?
Limited Vinyl LP £15.49 CADD3525X
Limited indies only BLUE coloured vinyl LP on 4AD. Edition of 1000 copies.
- Coloured vinyl
- Indies only
- Limited edition
Your boy Zach Condon is at it again: a happier Stephin Merritt and a calmer Tom Chaplin, the dude really had to work on creating his own sound, which he did (well, no, he acted as a compositional inter-railer, lifting from other cultures and naming himself after a Lebanese city he’d never performed in). Dropping the pop pastiches and weird choices of his past (like trying his hand at Balkan folk and naming a sunny indie pop record after the Soviet organisation who enforced labor camps…?), Condon has been making a less conceptual type of pop music over his last few years, mainly hammering home synthy indie pop and indie folk on ‘The Rip Tide’ before coming out with this record, an overly orchestral, overly-tromboned, way out symphonic pop record that sounds like the chaotic inner workings of my brain given an overture.
‘No No No’ seems to have also lost its sense of place completely, with Condon switching it up between moody atmosphere pieces like “At Once” before dropping into twee ditties like “August Holland”, led with an old-school piano melody and deafening drums. The tune sounds so full-bodied that when Condon drops out to an acoustic guitar it’s a relief, and when he throws everything back into the mixture (with added shakers!) I want to cry. Disgruntled in paradise: is that the theme of Condon’s music?
Condon has made some absolutely gorgeous songs over the years, and I’ve enjoyed involuntarily dancing to them (see “Nantes”, of course), and there are shades of the same musician who can pull back a bit and execute his arrangements just right: instrumental “As Needed” uses some gorgeous brushed percussion, wiry strings and a lovely picked motif to great effect, implying all the melodrama of your average Beirut song but letting it simmer. For the most part, though, this sounds like one of those YouTube videos where you’ve hearing every artist’s song at the same time: it’s maximum Beirut, it’s the most Beirut ever, and that’s not something I’m particularly psyched to listen to. I like all the bits before the songs become actual songs, though: the Supertramp keys and dulcet harmonies of “Pacheco” would make good lunchtime music.
9/10 ian 7th October 2015
Now to say I have not followed this bands career so far. This is one of my first purchases from Beirut I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of sound they achieve. In particular the horn section and repeating loop in No No No has a catchy swing you can’t help but tap along too. I would say by far my stand out track of the album is Gibraltar with its rhythmic drum beat and mellow yet upbeat vibe to it is outstanding.
I would highly recommend this just stick it on and let the vibes chill you out.
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