Tuesday, October 16, 2007

'The Flying Club Cup' by Beirut

16 October 2007

In 'Gulag Orkestar', the wonderful CD by Beirut (reviewed here in November 2006), twenty-something Zach Condon from Albuquerque, New Mexico, drew on the Gypsy brass sound of the Balkans. In his follow-up album 'The Flying Club Cup', which I've been listening to this week, he somehow manages to adopt a series of completely different styles whilst remaining distinctly recognisable. Here he travels across Europe, lingering particularly in France. Pulsating rhythms, mostly in quick waltz time, provide the landscape over which his languid vocals soar - often multi-tracked to create a chorus of Condons. His slightly strained, mock-operatic voice reminds me at times of Neil Hannon from The Divine Comedy. The songs all have a feeling of melancholy ennui. The instrumentation includes the ukulele and accordion of 'Gulag Orkestar' as well as strings and piano. The brass sound is more mellow: accompanied by a wealth of percussion including clashed cymbals and tambourine it conjures up the image of a Salvation Army band leading a particularly cool New Orleans funeral march. I can't wait to see what he does next.

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