Review Summary: Beirut's follow up release, Lon Gisland, provides a clear and present improvement of their previous release.
Long Island is a part of New York that is not too far away from me. When I saw the title of Beirut
’s latest album, Lon Gisland
I was not sure if he was poking fun or simply appreciating what Long Island is about. Regardless, I was not too worried what Zach Condon’s view would be. After listening to the album, it is clear some songs on this album represent his feeling of what Long Island should sound like, feel like, and be like. The first realization of Lon Gisland
is overall, there is a much brighter and bolder sound. The band that Zach Condon plays with during shows was featured on this recording and the impact is huge. The horns are spectacular, blaring out notes of triumph with a lazy slur to shape the sound. The non-use of electric guitar remains to keep a more intimate feel by using ukuleles and mandolins without any sort of distortion. Zach’s vocals have not changed much from their debut album but the recording is immediately proven better with mesmerizing hymns. The songs have a much cleaner sound and every instrument is rightly represented.
The EP begins with the self-proclaimed single “Elephant Gun,” which runs just under six minutes. Unfortunately, it starts out with just simple strumming; it seems as if Zach repeats this trend with many songs on the debut release. Not too long after, the song gradually speeds up into something magical. Soft hymns and precisely placed horns create perfect blend of varying sounds in marching band-like atmosphere. The underlying problem is that it can become somewhat repetitive as it fades out with an accordion and a single horn. The remake of “Scenic World” is gorgeous. The first recording pales in comparison. Immediately, the accordion drives the melody instead of the cheap Casio keyboard. The percussion work is soothing and pulsating to a hypnotic beat. As the lyrics close, the song is truly ‘breath-taking.’
Between the full-length songs, the instrumental works “My Family’s Role in the World Revolution” and “The Long Island Sound” provide a charging atmosphere. “My Family’s Role in the World Revolution” begins with a bouncy piano introduction followed by a medley of beautiful and delicate horns blasting at a forte volume. “The Long Island Sound” is simply the accordion and horn theme at the end of “Elephant Gun” to spin the record to its ultimate close with “Carousels.” This song provides spot-on imagery. It is hard to think of anything else besides a carousel spinning and twirling in a dizzying frenzy. With a minute remaining, all that is left are the accompanying horns, violins, and pianos as it fades out into the faint sound of a busy street. It will only be a matter of time before that busy street has some of the best work that Zach Condon produced blaring out of their speakers. The development is almost overwhelming. The accompanying horns, vocals used as an instrument, and pounding drums make Lon Gisland
a short, yet exquisite release. I hope that that Long Island sound will be heard everywhere, because it is truly worth a listen.