‘The Rip Tide’ | Beirut
For fans of:
Guster, Noah and the Whale, DeVotchKa
Singles to download:
“Santa Fe,” “East Harlem,” “Port of Call”
Describing Beirut sounds like a bad joke: an indie band from Santa Fe that mashes American pop with Balkan folk, creating music full of unlikely bedfellows (horns, ukuleles, cellos and accordions) that sounds so undeniably Eastern European. And yet, as indie-folk fans will attest, Beirut makes it work, combining front man Zach Condon’s unique, crooning vocals, peculiarly European arrangements and the strange sweetness of a stripped-down ukulele backed by sweeping strings into a unique sound. In Beirut’s newest album, “The Rip Tide,” these elements are all present and accounted for, but better yet, Beirut manages to combine its unique sound with a poppier, more accessible style while still maintaining its authentic feel.
“The Rip Tide” is a dreamy, nostalgic album, filled with both sad, sweet songs and charmingly cheerful tracks full of brass. Unsurprisingly, the album is full of nautical images—check out “Port of Call” and the heavily instrumental title song, “The Rip Tide.” The poppiest songs on the album, synth-laden “Santa Fe” and Guster-reminiscent “Port of Call,” are my personal favorites; both are charmingly and unabashedly catchy.
In such a short album—only nine songs—there is little room for missteps, and, in truth, there are very few. The only song that falls flat is “The Peacock,” which feels like a long buildup to nothing.
But elsewhere, Beirut makes up for it. In the album’s first single, “East Harlem,” Condon sings “Sound is the color I know/Sound is what keeps me looking for your eyes/And the sound of your breath in the door/And oh, the sound will bring me home again.”
Fans, fear not. Beirut delivers on all of its promises. The sound of “The Rip Tide” will bring you home.