#29 on the 2011 Musical Bacon Calendar
The Rip Tide by Beirut
Zach Condon, former child prodigy and current indie rock band leader, is in his prime. After his band Beirut debuted five years ago with the phenomenal album Gulag Orkestar, they’ve continued to crank out warm, multi-instrumental, world-music influenced folk music year after year. Beirut appeared at No. 9 on 2009’s Musical Advent Calendar1, where I said:
It’s safe to say Beirut is quite unlike any other current band I listen to. I hear hints of other bands (Neutral Milk Hotel, DeVotchKa), but they are only the tiniest of glimmers. And it’s precisely that sound, unlike anyone else, that I believe will make them appealing to a wide audience.
And it’s still true. Condon’s voice is sing-songy, with lots of virbrato, a somewhat less-classically trained Morrissey. And he plays the trumpet, ukelele, guitar and keyboards equally well — I don’t throw the word “prodigy” around lightly. And backed by a rotating crew of fine musicians that amply follow along to Condon’s musical whims, this band has plenty going for it.
But I’m sure that description isn’t inspiring anyone to go online and purchase every album Beirut has released. And while The Rip Tide isn’t their absolute best, it has an uncanny ability to capture my mood quite well. All I’ve done with this review is prove how difficult it is to write about this band and make them sound appealing. So I’ll have to leave you with this: trust me. Think about all those times in the past where I’ve not led you astray. Now’s the time when I cash in on that good will and just tell you to listen to the damn thing. You can thank me later.2