The Rip TideAlbum |
One-time wunderkind finds his own sound.
Zach Condon, multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter behind Albuquerque musical globetrotters Beirut, has always been inspired by setting and place. Folloing his Balkan-inspired debut Gulag Orkestar, 2007's applauded sophomore effort The Flying Club Cup was heavily influenced by French music and culture, and 2008 EP March of the Zapotec was rooted in a trip to Oaxaca, Mexico. The Rip Tide, Condon's self-released third LP, is his first full-length in three years. It finds the one-time boy genius (still only 25) finally settling into a single musical identity by drawing from all of the sounds and personas he's put on and taken off over the years. The result comes closer to traditional contemporary American indie-folk than before while still maintaining Condon's wide-ranging influences, from Eastern European folk to Brazilian pop. Much like fellow 2011 indie darling Bon Iver, Condon frequently devotes songs to specific locales: the brassy single "East Harlem" makes a welcome addition to an already sprawling list of great songs about New York City. In true Beirut fashion, there's plenty of cheerful ukulele in cuts like "Port of Call" to go along with more fully fleshed, trans-global parades like "A Candle's Fire" and "Santa Fe." While The Rip Tide is not this Serge Gainsbourg-meets-Elephant 6 bandleader's most exotic recording, it's a warm, cohesive listen.
|Beirut: Critical Connections|