For a good while now, Zach Condon of the band Beirut has relished in a world of instrumentation long forgotten by the rest of the music world. With the return of Beirut on their latest release Gallipoli, that rings true in a matter that’s as if the album is a soundtrack to a Parisian film that was never released. Concise and to the point in some ways, meandering and free in others, Gallipoli shows that Beirut can still amaze listeners with antiquated instruments without sounding dated in the process.
The should start of by stating that in many ways, this album is an evolution in sound by a band that sometimes gets called everything but what they are. Mislabeled as folk, Beirut is so much more than that and this album proves it. The opener “When I Die” has these touches that feel very European, while the unaffected vocals have a meter of their own. The instrumentation employed here offers a glimpse of what the rest of the album is. The almost triumphant nature of “Gallipoli,” the chill wave notes of “I Giardini” and the electro-pop nuances that come in on “Family Curse” display an artist willing to try new things and becoming the victor in the journey.
Standouts of the album would easily be the lead single “Landslide” and the rhythmic smattering of “Light in the Atoll.” With “Landslide,” Condon is using methods from earlier Beirut albums not to stun you with what he’s doing on this album. It’s experimentation utilized through familiarity, and it causes the song to shine like a diamond. With “Light in the Atoll,” those realized notions come through in full force, implementing electronica, free jazz, and piano rock like no one else, it’s a gamble that pays back listeners in strides.
You can stream Gallipoli on all streaming sites, you can pick it up digitally from all digital retailers, or you can order physical copies directly from 4AD Records. Beirut will be on tour tonight at Brooklyn Steel in Brooklyn until August 29 in Salisbury, U.K. at End of the Road Festival. A complete listing of the band’s tour dates can be accessed here.
Image Credits: Photo by Olga Baczynska.