World Indie band, “Beirut”, releases new album

Three years ago, on a whim, I found myself in Las Cruces, New Mexico at New Mexico State University indifferently awaiting the start of the concert that evening. The band in question, “Beirut,” was previously unknown to me but in one night that all changed.

The 11-piece band took the stage. They opened up the show with “Nantes,” a fan favorite that piqued my interest most of all. I had never heard such a full sound mixed with the traditional french-influenced chanson (lyric-driven song). In brief, I was hooked.

Lead singer Zach Condon, a New Mexico native, greeted the crowd and explained the premise of his unique group. All of his life he had hoped to be something great, but after dropping out of college things looked bleak. He recorded his first LP, “Gulag Okester,” in his bedroom. But surely enough he gained underground success and his fame began to grow indefinitely.

On Aug. 30th, the group’s third LP, “The Rip Tide,” was released. In the past, the band was known to take on staggeringly varied world cultures in their albums, such as the French chanson of “The Flying Cup Club,” and the chilling brass sound of a Mexican funeral on “March of the Zapotec.” Instead, Zach Condon stated his musical intentions on “The Rip Tide” to plainly, “create a pop album.”

The sound of the album is definitely different. On ground level, Condon has accomplished his latest project with flying colors; the album is extremely less “European sounding.” Though, I still sense lyric-driven chanson, just thrown into the realm of an American pop sound with spritzes of horns and strings that still makes it both original, and a delight to listen to. Among the melancholy songs, my favorites consist of: “A Candle’s Fire,” “Sante Fe,” “Payne’s Bay,” and “East Harlem.”

My only problem with the album is the sheer length of it. With only seven songs—weighing in at a mere 33 minutes—the album leaves something to be desired. Condon released the album on his own label, “Pompeii” in order for him to have as much freedom with his music as possible, so I’m sure there is some meaning and/or depth behind the length and songs, and not simply a general laziness from Condon.

On a side note, due to complications, the band now consists of only six members. Although the band number fluctuates often, they never lose their true sound. Their simple fullness yet soothing and wafty sound is just about as unique as a group can get, and for that reason I hold the utmost respect for them; I also recommend that those reading at least give a listen to the album, “The Flying Cup Club”, and the EP, “Elephant Gun”. There’s your jumping off point, now go and tell me what you think at [email protected]