We all want to secretly (and now maybe not so secretly) date Zach Condon, front man of Beirut. Their new album The Rip Tide was just released on August 30 via Pompeii Records (Zach’s record label) and it is here to woo you with its well orchestrated arrangements and genuine lyrical truths. Just give in, seriously, you’ll thank me later.

The album kicks off with an epic march of drums and brass that just call out for your attention in “A Candle’s Fire.”  Zach’s modern day croon sweeps you off your feet. It’s a voice that sends chills up my spine every time I hear it. (Sorry Zach, despite how much I heart you, I’m taken). And to top it all off, the trumpet/euphonium/tuba arrangements are subtle, yet sexy.

“Santa Fe” keeps the pace rolling with its upbeat drum demeanor and tell-it-like-it-is lyrics, “Can’t wait at all, temptation’s won, whatever comes through the door, see it face-to-face.” I found this song to be one of the catchiest on the album with its playful harmonies and weaving piano. Beirut then takes us on a little trip to “East Harlem” but really it seems like a journey that spreads far beyond state lines. With quick snare side taps, pulsing piano and melodic brass, the song invites the listener right into their inner circle. It reminds me of watching videos of their well-known street performances (i.e. Nantes on the Take Away show), where you get sucked in just like you’re there watching them live (and clapping along all off-beat and awesomely). The gathering of everyday people on the street instantly connects you even though you may be thousands of miles away. The background harmonies and vocals that pipe in towards the end add that bit of finesse that leaves you hungry for more. This is access to street corner sounds at their finest, without ever having to step out onto the street.

“Payne’s Bay” doesn’t let up with cymbal crashes, delightful vocal harmonies galore and an abrupt tuba ending which is oddly yet perfectly placed. “Vagabond” hits with a heavier beat and ends in hand claps, which means stomping along and dancing is inherent and the piano riff will get stuck in your head. The album ends on a bright note with the ukulele infused, triangle tinkering “Port of Call.”

Beirut have shed some off their more obvious Euro and Mexican influences from their previous releases which gave this album an interesting twist which I found to be relatable in both its simplicity and sophistication. They’re not just some ole’ troubadour street kids who are knocking around musical genres at random, hoping that the spaghetti sticks.  They seem to be opening up more from their personal worlds rather than just the outside world this time around and it’s hard not to like. So you can get with this, or you can get with that. And I choose to get with this.

Be sure to catch them on tour in support of their new album The Rip Tide.  They hit the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Oct. 4!

Album Review by Emily Saex

Artist: Beirut
Album: The Rip Tide
Record Label: Pompeii Records
Release Date: August 30, 2011

  • Listen to Beirut’s “Santa Fe” here.
  • Listen to Beirut’s “East Harlem” here.