Beirut: The Rip Tide

The Rip Tide
(Pompeii Records)

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Zach Condon has traveled the world with his band Beirut, picking up sounds from Eastern European folk to Mexican horns.  On the band’s latest release, The Rip Tide, the band has come of age and produced a sound which might uniquely be called “Beirut.” The music has picked up sonic flavors from every road the band has traveled but results in a very identifiable blend of romantic crooning, playful pop melodies, and elements of electronica paired with folksy instrumentation which all seems somehow comfortable together. The album might be the band’s strongest with all nine tracks offering mellow, melodic variations on a more personal theme with no real weak spots.

The album opens with “A Candle’s Fire,” which sets the tone, featuring the band’s idiosyncratic instrumentation with strings, horns, and accordion along with guest vocalist support fro€m Sharon Van Etten. The album also has a number of strong tracks with location names such as the band’s first single, “East Harlem,” which has a beautiful vocal harmony bouncing about a slow staccato beat with gentle horns in-between, and “Santa Fe,” which is Condon’s home town, a song which marries the electronic and world music sounds together particularly well. It’s the type of album that is strong enough to play from beginning to end repeatedly, with the only down side being that it leaves the audience wanting more due to the short number of tracks.

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About Tim Needles

Tim Needles is an artist, photographer, humorist, and writer from Long Island, NY. His writing and art work has been seen in multiple exhibitions and publications around New York as well as the Photographer’s Forum, French Photo, the New York Times, and LI Pulse magazine. He is also an educator and currently teaches art and film at Smithtown, NY and as an Education Leader for Adobe. He was recently the recipient of the Robert Rauschenberg Award in Washington DC and serves as the director of Strictly Students, a non-for-profit group for media and education. His work can be seen on his website: www.timneedles.com
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