BEIRUTTHE RIP TIDEORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 2ND 20111YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2011 RANKING: #27It seems to these ears that producing a worthy successor to Beirut’s first two records was never going to be the primary issue at hand. Rather, like so many bands who come to define a very particular sound, with the passing of time in-between those releases comes an almost unavoidable pitfall, that of trapping one’s sound so as to leave their entire aesthetic open to ridicule by those less inclined to share their sentiments. Beirut are definitely one such band, and The Rip Tide - despite my willingness to herald it their greatest effort thus far - will do nothing to dissuade a large chunk of indie’s current listening audience that they’re little more than a hokey and contrived parody of the antiquated, music made for flat white drinkers or charity shop rummagers. Yet despite Beirut’s leanings towards mawkish sentimentality, their music is also deeply romantic, utterly captivating and capable of transforming the mundane into something altogether more intercontinental. Songwriter Zach Condon created beautiful fantasy worlds on Gulag Orkestar and The Flying Cup Club with an ease that reflected the music’s lagging, often drawling brass arrangements. Peppered with violins and ukulele and inspired by Balkan folk music following a trip to Europe, Condon pioneered a vision of a cosmopolitan otherworld, where adopting alternative styles and tailoring them with a mind toward the contemporary became an indulgence as much for his own imagination as it did for his listener’s.Condon’s late teens and early twenties were spent travelling from country to country, living the kind of vagabond lifestyle that befits the rambling, cross-continental polyglottal wanderings of his characters. Living what could be exemplified as the artistic temperament of the figures that adorn his LP and EP sleeves, Condon now finds himself in a very opposite position. Married and owning his home in Williamsburg, along with a couple of cats and a dog, he is living a relatively more settled lifestyle than he was six years ago. It’s a surprising contrast for someone who is still relatively young (this guy has just one year on me), yet it is a welcome one and The Rip Tide reflects this settling in bold and beautifully robust ways. Vagabond, the seventh track of nine here, seems to recall the aforementioned backpacker lifestyle of old with bittersweet nostalgia but with a nod and a wink to current situations. More straightforward than previous outings, The Rip Tide feels like a proper collection of songs yet clocks in at little over thirty minutes. Nevertheless, it feels like a concise statement, where Condon has terminated his nomadic tendencies in favour of singing about the places he knows inside and out. There’s East Harlem, which rotates around piano and guitar hop-skips before transforming its second half with hum-de-hum improvs and stabs of horns, all the while reiterating his compulsion to assign places and meanings to particular sounds. Sante Fe, meanwhile, is perhaps the nearest to pop he’s allowed Beirut to get with its flourishes of horns and marching drum beat. Condon’s vocals are sunlit and resplendent with all the control of a singer who knows how to keep a tight leash on his delivery and the confidence of knowing his craft better than most.That delivery showcases more restraint than ever before, and it’s wonderful to hear how he has matured from essentially a kid (albeit, old before his time) to a young man over three records. His voice has deepened ever so slightly, filling out the curling brass and percussion sections of songs like opener A Candle’s Flame and the ascending horn pirouettes on closing track Port Of Call. The tone of his vocal remains more or less the same with the odd fluctuation, yet there’s always an inherent melody embedded deep within. Condon bestows real soul within his vocals, and it’s perhaps noteworthy to mention that The Rip Tide is Beirut’s first album recorded with a full band (Condon separately played all the instruments himself on Gulag Orkestar and The Flying Cup Club), revealing a group dynamic that translates just as respectably in a live setting as much as it does on record. The title track remains perhaps the most moving piece here, a glorious paean to a deeply personal and emotional undercurrent, smoothed over its surface by a gently ebbing tide of sliding cinematic strings. It’s also one of the rare occasions where the video that has been made for the song (in this case, almost a year after initially hearing it) totally encapsulates the image one had in their head from that initial listen. It is solemn and pared down, and in being so claims itself the honest heart of the record. Condon fashions a few majestic numbers by playing on these downbeat elements. Goshen is a melancholy ballad that builds around a forlorn piano line and gently encroaching horn sections. There’s tenderness and attention to detail here that was lacking from the sporadic configurations of his earlier material, and this finely-tuned performance feels like we’re bearing witness to a closely guarded secret. Location has always been a theme that Condon has drawn on heavily, to the point where something within his output began to feel almost satirical by the time March Of The Zapotec/Realpeople: Holland rolled around. In many ways The Rip Tide continues this theme of location, yet carves out its own space in time and geography as a primary starting point. Home is where the heart is appears to be the motto for that starting point: it’s a place that feels assured and confident, from a young man who has travelled the world in a suitcase and has returned, full circle, to see ‘home’ through new eyes. That may also herald a new beginning for Beirut. Penultimate track The Peacock burgeons with regal horns and a patient drone as Condon exclaims, “Where should I begin, begin?” His question feels like a desire to start anew, and it’s perhaps even the most powerful piece he’s committed to record thus far. With Gulag Orkestar and The Flying Cup Club, Beirut revealed to us a lifestyle from the other side, a skill deployed to remove us from the mundane repetitions of every day life embellished with tales of passion and adventure. The Rip Tideshows us the other side, the side we’re on, the side that’s always a little less exciting. The best thing about that is how personable it can be. If hearing Condon sing always felt like home by way of some off-shore, foreign sojourn, then The Rip Tide soundtracks the domestic in a way that few else can. However short it may be, nine tracks with ample hooks and melodic thrills that, over time, seep under the skin is all the proof needed to show that minor triumphs can result in a cohesive and mature statement.

BEIRUT
THE RIP TIDE

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 2ND 2011
1YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2011 RANKING: #27


It seems to these ears that producing a worthy successor to Beirut’s first two records was never going to be the primary issue at hand. Rather, like so many bands who come to define a very particular sound, with the passing of time in-between those releases comes an almost unavoidable pitfall, that of trapping one’s sound so as to leave their entire aesthetic open to ridicule by those less inclined to share their sentiments. Beirut are definitely one such band, and The Rip Tide - despite my willingness to herald it their greatest effort thus far - will do nothing to dissuade a large chunk of indie’s current listening audience that they’re little more than a hokey and contrived parody of the antiquated, music made for flat white drinkers or charity shop rummagers. Yet despite Beirut’s leanings towards mawkish sentimentality, their music is also deeply romantic, utterly captivating and capable of transforming the mundane into something altogether more intercontinental. Songwriter Zach Condon created beautiful fantasy worlds on Gulag Orkestar and The Flying Cup Club with an ease that reflected the music’s lagging, often drawling brass arrangements. Peppered with violins and ukulele and inspired by Balkan folk music following a trip to Europe, Condon pioneered a vision of a cosmopolitan otherworld, where adopting alternative styles and tailoring them with a mind toward the contemporary became an indulgence as much for his own imagination as it did for his listener’s.


Condon’s late teens and early twenties were spent travelling from country to country, living the kind of vagabond lifestyle that befits the rambling, cross-continental polyglottal wanderings of his characters. Living what could be exemplified as the artistic temperament of the figures that adorn his LP and EP sleeves, Condon now finds himself in a very opposite position. Married and owning his home in Williamsburg, along with a couple of cats and a dog, he is living a relatively more settled lifestyle than he was six years ago. It’s a surprising contrast for someone who is still relatively young (this guy has just one year on me), yet it is a welcome one and The Rip Tide reflects this settling in bold and beautifully robust ways. Vagabond, the seventh track of nine here, seems to recall the aforementioned backpacker lifestyle of old with bittersweet nostalgia but with a nod and a wink to current situations. More straightforward than previous outings, The Rip Tide feels like a proper collection of songs yet clocks in at little over thirty minutes. Nevertheless, it feels like a concise statement, where Condon has terminated his nomadic tendencies in favour of singing about the places he knows inside and out. There’s East Harlem, which rotates around piano and guitar hop-skips before transforming its second half with hum-de-hum improvs and stabs of horns, all the while reiterating his compulsion to assign places and meanings to particular sounds. Sante Fe, meanwhile, is perhaps the nearest to pop he’s allowed Beirut to get with its flourishes of horns and marching drum beat. Condon’s vocals are sunlit and resplendent with all the control of a singer who knows how to keep a tight leash on his delivery and the confidence of knowing his craft better than most.


That delivery showcases more restraint than ever before, and it’s wonderful to hear how he has matured from essentially a kid (albeit, old before his time) to a young man over three records. His voice has deepened ever so slightly, filling out the curling brass and percussion sections of songs like opener A Candle’s Flame and the ascending horn pirouettes on closing track Port Of Call. The tone of his vocal remains more or less the same with the odd fluctuation, yet there’s always an inherent melody embedded deep within. Condon bestows real soul within his vocals, and it’s perhaps noteworthy to mention that The Rip Tide is Beirut’s first album recorded with a full band (Condon separately played all the instruments himself on Gulag Orkestar and The Flying Cup Club), revealing a group dynamic that translates just as respectably in a live setting as much as it does on record. The title track remains perhaps the most moving piece here, a glorious paean to a deeply personal and emotional undercurrent, smoothed over its surface by a gently ebbing tide of sliding cinematic strings. It’s also one of the rare occasions where the video that has been made for the song (in this case, almost a year after initially hearing it) totally encapsulates the image one had in their head from that initial listen. It is solemn and pared down, and in being so claims itself the honest heart of the record. Condon fashions a few majestic numbers by playing on these downbeat elements. Goshen is a melancholy ballad that builds around a forlorn piano line and gently encroaching horn sections. There’s tenderness and attention to detail here that was lacking from the sporadic configurations of his earlier material, and this finely-tuned performance feels like we’re bearing witness to a closely guarded secret. 


Location has always been a theme that Condon has drawn on heavily, to the point where something within his output began to feel almost satirical by the time March Of The Zapotec/Realpeople: Holland rolled around. In many ways The Rip Tide continues this theme of location, yet carves out its own space in time and geography as a primary starting point. Home is where the heart is appears to be the motto for that starting point: it’s a place that feels assured and confident, from a young man who has travelled the world in a suitcase and has returned, full circle, to see ‘home’ through new eyes. That may also herald a new beginning for Beirut. Penultimate track The Peacock burgeons with regal horns and a patient drone as Condon exclaims, “Where should I begin, begin?” His question feels like a desire to start anew, and it’s perhaps even the most powerful piece he’s committed to record thus far. With Gulag Orkestar and The Flying Cup Club, Beirut revealed to us a lifestyle from the other side, a skill deployed to remove us from the mundane repetitions of every day life embellished with tales of passion and adventure. The Rip Tideshows us the other side, the side we’re on, the side that’s always a little less exciting. The best thing about that is how personable it can be. If hearing Condon sing always felt like home by way of some off-shore, foreign sojourn, then The Rip Tide soundtracks the domestic in a way that few else can. However short it may be, nine tracks with ample hooks and melodic thrills that, over time, seep under the skin is all the proof needed to show that minor triumphs can result in a cohesive and mature statement.

BEIRUTTHE RIP TIDEORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 2ND 20111YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2011 RANKING: #27It seems to these ears that producing a worthy successor to Beirut’s first two records was never going to be the primary issue at hand. Rather, like so many bands who come to define a very particular sound, with the passing of time in-between those releases comes an almost unavoidable pitfall, that of trapping one’s sound so as to leave their entire aesthetic open to ridicule by those less inclined to share their sentiments. Beirut are definitely one such band, and The Rip Tide - despite my willingness to herald it their greatest effort thus far - will do nothing to dissuade a large chunk of indie’s current listening audience that they’re little more than a hokey and contrived parody of the antiquated, music made for flat white drinkers or charity shop rummagers. Yet despite Beirut’s leanings towards mawkish sentimentality, their music is also deeply romantic, utterly captivating and capable of transforming the mundane into something altogether more intercontinental. Songwriter Zach Condon created beautiful fantasy worlds on Gulag Orkestar and The Flying Cup Club with an ease that reflected the music’s lagging, often drawling brass arrangements. Peppered with violins and ukulele and inspired by Balkan folk music following a trip to Europe, Condon pioneered a vision of a cosmopolitan otherworld, where adopting alternative styles and tailoring them with a mind toward the contemporary became an indulgence as much for his own imagination as it did for his listener’s.Condon’s late teens and early twenties were spent travelling from country to country, living the kind of vagabond lifestyle that befits the rambling, cross-continental polyglottal wanderings of his characters. Living what could be exemplified as the artistic temperament of the figures that adorn his LP and EP sleeves, Condon now finds himself in a very opposite position. Married and owning his home in Williamsburg, along with a couple of cats and a dog, he is living a relatively more settled lifestyle than he was six years ago. It’s a surprising contrast for someone who is still relatively young (this guy has just one year on me), yet it is a welcome one and The Rip Tide reflects this settling in bold and beautifully robust ways. Vagabond, the seventh track of nine here, seems to recall the aforementioned backpacker lifestyle of old with bittersweet nostalgia but with a nod and a wink to current situations. More straightforward than previous outings, The Rip Tide feels like a proper collection of songs yet clocks in at little over thirty minutes. Nevertheless, it feels like a concise statement, where Condon has terminated his nomadic tendencies in favour of singing about the places he knows inside and out. There’s East Harlem, which rotates around piano and guitar hop-skips before transforming its second half with hum-de-hum improvs and stabs of horns, all the while reiterating his compulsion to assign places and meanings to particular sounds. Sante Fe, meanwhile, is perhaps the nearest to pop he’s allowed Beirut to get with its flourishes of horns and marching drum beat. Condon’s vocals are sunlit and resplendent with all the control of a singer who knows how to keep a tight leash on his delivery and the confidence of knowing his craft better than most.That delivery showcases more restraint than ever before, and it’s wonderful to hear how he has matured from essentially a kid (albeit, old before his time) to a young man over three records. His voice has deepened ever so slightly, filling out the curling brass and percussion sections of songs like opener A Candle’s Flame and the ascending horn pirouettes on closing track Port Of Call. The tone of his vocal remains more or less the same with the odd fluctuation, yet there’s always an inherent melody embedded deep within. Condon bestows real soul within his vocals, and it’s perhaps noteworthy to mention that The Rip Tide is Beirut’s first album recorded with a full band (Condon separately played all the instruments himself on Gulag Orkestar and The Flying Cup Club), revealing a group dynamic that translates just as respectably in a live setting as much as it does on record. The title track remains perhaps the most moving piece here, a glorious paean to a deeply personal and emotional undercurrent, smoothed over its surface by a gently ebbing tide of sliding cinematic strings. It’s also one of the rare occasions where the video that has been made for the song (in this case, almost a year after initially hearing it) totally encapsulates the image one had in their head from that initial listen. It is solemn and pared down, and in being so claims itself the honest heart of the record. Condon fashions a few majestic numbers by playing on these downbeat elements. Goshen is a melancholy ballad that builds around a forlorn piano line and gently encroaching horn sections. There’s tenderness and attention to detail here that was lacking from the sporadic configurations of his earlier material, and this finely-tuned performance feels like we’re bearing witness to a closely guarded secret. Location has always been a theme that Condon has drawn on heavily, to the point where something within his output began to feel almost satirical by the time March Of The Zapotec/Realpeople: Holland rolled around. In many ways The Rip Tide continues this theme of location, yet carves out its own space in time and geography as a primary starting point. Home is where the heart is appears to be the motto for that starting point: it’s a place that feels assured and confident, from a young man who has travelled the world in a suitcase and has returned, full circle, to see ‘home’ through new eyes. That may also herald a new beginning for Beirut. Penultimate track The Peacock burgeons with regal horns and a patient drone as Condon exclaims, “Where should I begin, begin?” His question feels like a desire to start anew, and it’s perhaps even the most powerful piece he’s committed to record thus far. With Gulag Orkestar and The Flying Cup Club, Beirut revealed to us a lifestyle from the other side, a skill deployed to remove us from the mundane repetitions of every day life embellished with tales of passion and adventure. The Rip Tideshows us the other side, the side we’re on, the side that’s always a little less exciting. The best thing about that is how personable it can be. If hearing Condon sing always felt like home by way of some off-shore, foreign sojourn, then The Rip Tide soundtracks the domestic in a way that few else can. However short it may be, nine tracks with ample hooks and melodic thrills that, over time, seep under the skin is all the proof needed to show that minor triumphs can result in a cohesive and mature statement.

BEIRUT
THE RIP TIDE

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 2ND 2011
1YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2011 RANKING: #27


It seems to these ears that producing a worthy successor to Beirut’s first two records was never going to be the primary issue at hand. Rather, like so many bands who come to define a very particular sound, with the passing of time in-between those releases comes an almost unavoidable pitfall, that of trapping one’s sound so as to leave their entire aesthetic open to ridicule by those less inclined to share their sentiments. Beirut are definitely one such band, and The Rip Tide - despite my willingness to herald it their greatest effort thus far - will do nothing to dissuade a large chunk of indie’s current listening audience that they’re little more than a hokey and contrived parody of the antiquated, music made for flat white drinkers or charity shop rummagers. Yet despite Beirut’s leanings towards mawkish sentimentality, their music is also deeply romantic, utterly captivating and capable of transforming the mundane into something altogether more intercontinental. Songwriter Zach Condon created beautiful fantasy worlds on Gulag Orkestar and The Flying Cup Club with an ease that reflected the music’s lagging, often drawling brass arrangements. Peppered with violins and ukulele and inspired by Balkan folk music following a trip to Europe, Condon pioneered a vision of a cosmopolitan otherworld, where adopting alternative styles and tailoring them with a mind toward the contemporary became an indulgence as much for his own imagination as it did for his listener’s.


Condon’s late teens and early twenties were spent travelling from country to country, living the kind of vagabond lifestyle that befits the rambling, cross-continental polyglottal wanderings of his characters. Living what could be exemplified as the artistic temperament of the figures that adorn his LP and EP sleeves, Condon now finds himself in a very opposite position. Married and owning his home in Williamsburg, along with a couple of cats and a dog, he is living a relatively more settled lifestyle than he was six years ago. It’s a surprising contrast for someone who is still relatively young (this guy has just one year on me), yet it is a welcome one and The Rip Tide reflects this settling in bold and beautifully robust ways. Vagabond, the seventh track of nine here, seems to recall the aforementioned backpacker lifestyle of old with bittersweet nostalgia but with a nod and a wink to current situations. More straightforward than previous outings, The Rip Tide feels like a proper collection of songs yet clocks in at little over thirty minutes. Nevertheless, it feels like a concise statement, where Condon has terminated his nomadic tendencies in favour of singing about the places he knows inside and out. There’s East Harlem, which rotates around piano and guitar hop-skips before transforming its second half with hum-de-hum improvs and stabs of horns, all the while reiterating his compulsion to assign places and meanings to particular sounds. Sante Fe, meanwhile, is perhaps the nearest to pop he’s allowed Beirut to get with its flourishes of horns and marching drum beat. Condon’s vocals are sunlit and resplendent with all the control of a singer who knows how to keep a tight leash on his delivery and the confidence of knowing his craft better than most.


That delivery showcases more restraint than ever before, and it’s wonderful to hear how he has matured from essentially a kid (albeit, old before his time) to a young man over three records. His voice has deepened ever so slightly, filling out the curling brass and percussion sections of songs like opener A Candle’s Flame and the ascending horn pirouettes on closing track Port Of Call. The tone of his vocal remains more or less the same with the odd fluctuation, yet there’s always an inherent melody embedded deep within. Condon bestows real soul within his vocals, and it’s perhaps noteworthy to mention that The Rip Tide is Beirut’s first album recorded with a full band (Condon separately played all the instruments himself on Gulag Orkestar and The Flying Cup Club), revealing a group dynamic that translates just as respectably in a live setting as much as it does on record. The title track remains perhaps the most moving piece here, a glorious paean to a deeply personal and emotional undercurrent, smoothed over its surface by a gently ebbing tide of sliding cinematic strings. It’s also one of the rare occasions where the video that has been made for the song (in this case, almost a year after initially hearing it) totally encapsulates the image one had in their head from that initial listen. It is solemn and pared down, and in being so claims itself the honest heart of the record. Condon fashions a few majestic numbers by playing on these downbeat elements. Goshen is a melancholy ballad that builds around a forlorn piano line and gently encroaching horn sections. There’s tenderness and attention to detail here that was lacking from the sporadic configurations of his earlier material, and this finely-tuned performance feels like we’re bearing witness to a closely guarded secret. 


Location has always been a theme that Condon has drawn on heavily, to the point where something within his output began to feel almost satirical by the time March Of The Zapotec/Realpeople: Holland rolled around. In many ways The Rip Tide continues this theme of location, yet carves out its own space in time and geography as a primary starting point. Home is where the heart is appears to be the motto for that starting point: it’s a place that feels assured and confident, from a young man who has travelled the world in a suitcase and has returned, full circle, to see ‘home’ through new eyes. That may also herald a new beginning for Beirut. Penultimate track The Peacock burgeons with regal horns and a patient drone as Condon exclaims, “Where should I begin, begin?” His question feels like a desire to start anew, and it’s perhaps even the most powerful piece he’s committed to record thus far. With Gulag Orkestar and The Flying Cup Club, Beirut revealed to us a lifestyle from the other side, a skill deployed to remove us from the mundane repetitions of every day life embellished with tales of passion and adventure. The Rip Tideshows us the other side, the side we’re on, the side that’s always a little less exciting. The best thing about that is how personable it can be. If hearing Condon sing always felt like home by way of some off-shore, foreign sojourn, then The Rip Tide soundtracks the domestic in a way that few else can. However short it may be, nine tracks with ample hooks and melodic thrills that, over time, seep under the skin is all the proof needed to show that minor triumphs can result in a cohesive and mature statement.

Posted 2 years ago

About:

1YRON aims to shine the spotlight on albums exactly one year after their release. Presented as an alternative to writing about them instantaneously, I hope to recall the album in question with a fondness of time having passed. Perhaps you may even be inspired to go back and discover something new.

Since physical and digital release dates often vary worldwide (the US commonly a day after the UK for example, or for smaller releases, sometimes weeks or months apart), these reviews will only be published on their UK or US physical release date (whichever comes first).

Following: