Beirut - The Riptide
There's no denying that Zach Condon's Beirut have endeared themselves to many an indie music fan over the past couple of years. Somehow though, I've just not been able to get into it. I find the music pleasant enough, even beautiful at times, however there's something there that prevents me from embracing it fully.
Will that trend change with the group's forthcoming third album, The Rip Tide, which comes out on August 30th? In a short, not really.
The primary stumbling block for me is that many of the songs sound pretty much the same to me. I know, I know, some songs are constructed around strings ("Payne's Bay"), others around horns ("A Candle's Fire"), others yet around manipulated keyboards ("The Peacock"), but the overarching vibe is too bland and generic for my tastes (despite piling on the layers). "East Harlem", for example, is methodically built to the point of being sterile.
Those bulky arrangements lead me to my second big beef with Beirut. Those arrangements are so overweight that they end up completely distracting me from the lyrics. They may be brilliant lyrics at that. However, I will never know because there's too much noise to cut through to get to them.
The worst offender is the title track. It starts promisingly enough with more than a hint of drama. I imagined a race to row a leaky boat to shore when I listened to it. Then the overwrought refrain support kicked in, replacing the intriguing cinematic feel was replaced with horrific thoughts of Coldplay.
With all of that said, my opinion of Beirut is not all doom and gloom. A simple piano lead-in to "Goshen" gives way to slowly rising horns, and eventually a marching drum roll, all to great effect. The warbly effects on the beats of "Santa Fe" give the song an atypical propulsion.
The standout is definitely "Vagabond". There is a constant mesmerizing up-and-down flow to the track that really does captivate.
When it comes to Beirut, unfortunately, the moments that entice me are far out numbered by the moments that completely bore me. I'm not sure that's ever going to change. It may be time to toss Beirut entirely into the "things that aren't for me" bin.
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on 2011-12-02 iamparadox Said:
Peter, thanks for being honest. While reading your review I felt like you were reading my mind. Great job of offering constructive criticism and most importantly, staying true to your feelings.