Beirut
The Rip Tide


4.0
excellent

Review

by Kiran EMERITUS
August 1st, 2011 | 66 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Beirut awaken from their European reverie and produce a startlingly mature third LP.

The longed after distraction of escapism has always fallen more certainly under film’s jurisdiction than music’s, while the latter has, broadly speaking, clung to a style of storytelling decidedly more personal - closer to parables and poetry. But when Zach Condon whisked us away four years ago with The Flying Club Cup, a veritable guided tour through cobblestone streets and Balkan gypsy settlements, it was one of the few records around genuinely trembling with that cinematic quality. Every song painted a picture; an ideal world of sepia-toned Mediterranean coastal towns that, at the precise moment the band poised itself behind the flare of a trumpet, would pull you through the frame. No song since “Postcards From Italy” has better encapsulated the desire for travel, romance and the will to simply be, with someone you love, in a foreign place, floating in the cold current of an Atlantic ocean, to exist comfortably in a situation better than where you are right now, and not because Condon had experienced these things and was relaying it all back to us, but because the music was written through a filter of these dreams and aspirations.

Despite this, The Rip Tide is the first Beirut record to depart from that common thread of yearning and in doing so, opens the doors for listeners to glimpse Condon and co. at a much more personal level than as some admirable traveling troubadour. “Santa Fe”, for example, takes its title from the town Condon grew up in and in its bouncy synth rhythm, perfectly demonstrates one of the records most terrific surprises; The Rip Tide is also the first Beirut album to fully embrace the pop sensibilities Condon so deftly displayed in songs like “Scenic World” and nurtured through his side project, Realpeople. Others like “A Candle’s Fire” and the terrific first single “East Harlem” put this talent on full display, marking a surprising but welcome change in tone for an artist that seemed to once carry the burden of perpetual melancholia in every husky warble.

The maturation of content adds an interesting perspective to approaching The Rip Tide compared to previous LPs. No longer does the relationship between the listener necessarily require as large a degree of mutuality; where the lengthy, fantastic instrumental interludes of “Elephant Gun” were sharpened by imagination and the gloomy wallowing of “Nantes” gave more for each lovers quarrel sketched into your memory, the fact that The Rip Tide operates on a more personal level naturally imbues it with the ability to be, generally, more relatable. The subtle, simmering warmth of “Goshen” and the permeating loneliness of the title track move unlike (though not necessarily superior or inferior, purely in a different manner) any previous efforts simply because they resonate far closer to what is real than what we’ve dreamed and imagined. It’s one of the records key strengths; though it may not capture our hearts as instantly as the ideas of nostalgia and romance, The Rip Tide ushers in different dimensions of emotion and that is a progression to be admired.

Though these changes should not be greatly exaggerated – they do come in small measures – they give the record a character of its own. However, the elements fans have come to expect of the band have certainly not gone amiss, with tracks like “The Peacock” highlighting some of the brightest storytelling of their career; “Where should I begin, begin?” Condon stutters. “He’s the only one who knows the words”, he realizes over the regal horn of a trumpet and a shifting drone. Beirut may have taken a break from composing the music of reverie but they've settled somewhere with as much life to colour.



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user ratings (249)
Chart.
3.6
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other reviews of this album
nowhereman1991 (3.5)
Condon maintains his momentum as one of the more interesting indie-folk songwriters around at the mo...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Kiran
Emeritus
August 1st 2011


6002 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it's been a long time now

crazyblinddude
August 1st 2011


3389 Comments


Cool review. I've had this for a while, and it's taken a bit longer to get into than their other two full lengths. This kinda makes me want to give it another spin though.

psykonaut
August 1st 2011


3913 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yess

Satellite
August 1st 2011


20826 Comments


YES A KIRG REVIEW!

Blindsided
August 1st 2011


1871 Comments


He lives!

Kiran
Emeritus
August 1st 2011


6002 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

you know it dudes

klap
Staff Reviewer
August 1st 2011


10584 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lovely album, ok-i-guess review

Digging: Charli XCX - Sucker

FelixCulpa
August 1st 2011


1240 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm curious to give this a listen. Btw Kir can one expect a write up on WOW? I've entered a contest that'll get me 2 tickets (which I feel I have a shot at winning) but if that doesn't work out it would be sweet the read you're experience of it.

ECRbubs
August 1st 2011


687 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album rools

Kiran
Emeritus
August 1st 2011


6002 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

that's the plan felix

didn't know you had heard this rudolph

FelixCulpa
August 1st 2011


1240 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cool, I'll be looking forward too it! And thanks! You going to Popaganda or something? Or is the visit
to our capital a short one?

klap
Staff Reviewer
August 1st 2011


10584 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

im struggling between a 3.5 and a 4 for this atm

wabbit
August 1st 2011


7035 Comments


I need this.


Great review Kiran you should do it more.

natey
August 1st 2011


4170 Comments


Sound is the colour I know, oh,

armfarm
August 2nd 2011


576 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

album is so consistent

HBFS
August 2nd 2011


1294 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

really good album, been listening to it a lot lately

sniper
August 2nd 2011


19079 Comments


i had no idea this was coming out. :]

Adabelle
August 2nd 2011


4260 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Haven't listened to this yet, although you describing it as 'mature' is slightly worrying to me. The main reason I enjoyed Gulag so much and enjoyed it more than Flying Club was because it was so fun, so free and whimsical. I'm still definitely going to check this out though!

deathofasalesman
August 2nd 2011


5871 Comments


More reason to love 2011. SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT

Edit: Also, how many people have Cowboy Bebop avatars now?

Kiran
Emeritus
August 2nd 2011


6002 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Haven't listened to this yet, although you describing it as 'mature' is slightly worrying to me. The main reason I enjoyed Gulag so much and enjoyed it more than Flying Club was because it was so fun, so free and whimsical. I'm still definitely going to check this out though!

there are plenty of songs here that rival gulag orkestar with the sort of whimsical orchestrations you're thinking of (the first three songs, for example) but in general this is much, much more polished



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