Fifth studio album by indie folk, chamber pop and art pop-rock band, Beirut. Recorded by lead singer-songwriter, Zach Condon, in New York, Italy and Berlin — where Condon now lives. Cinematic and musically daring, while being rather light on lyrics (which Condon considers “overly personal,” while he views his music as being “transcendent.”) Several standout tracks, with a lot of tunes that flow together like a movie soundtrack.
Recommended: 2, 8, 1, 6. No FCCs detected.
1. (3:16) When I Die — Mid-tempo. Strummed guitar and liquid brass over an off-kilter beat. Farfisa organ under. Quavering vocals. ***
2. (4:07) Gallipoli — Playful organ squiggles at start. Mariachi brass band that Condon says reminds him of his former home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Bouncy and warm, with restful cantering beat and sentimental vocals. ****
3. (5:28) Varieties Of Exile — Ballad featuring strummed ukulele and accordion. Flowing and sweet with light rhythm. Almost a Pacific Islands feeling.
4. (2:13) On Mainau Island — Instrumental. Experimental flavor incorporating Farfisa organ and Moog synthesizer. Methodic pace. Discordant.
5. (3:43) I Giardini — Piano and synth over plodding African drums. Melodramatic vocals. Big backing vocals as well.
6. (6:05) Gauze Für Zah — Skipping, rolling melody. Atmospheric and free. Repetitious beat and piano notes. Lengthy ambient trail-out. ***
7. (2:35) Corfu — Instrumental. Mesmerizing, with chromatic chord shifts over a Latin bongo beat. Some machine-like noise near the end.
8. (3:31) Landslide — Sweeping and cinematic with soaring vocals. Pulsing organ. Fully orchestrated. Clocklike tempo. Downer lyrics contrasting with the uplifting tune. ****
9. (3:23) Family Curse — Pump organs. Drum machines. Synths. Brass. Wistful vocals. Long, hazy trail-out.
10. (3:59) Light In The Atoll — Starts like a movie soundtrack. Transitions to rich, harmonized vocals and brass over a simple bongo rhythm.
11. (4:12) We Never Lived Here — Crooned vocals over swirling synths, with trombone and trumpet counterpoint.
12. (2:04) Fin — Mostly instrumental. Musical scales on piano and synth with just a dash of Beach Boy-like harmonies at the start.