Beirut
Gallipoli


4.0
excellent

Review

by SandwichBubble USER (23 Reviews)
February 2nd, 2019 | 34 replies


Release Date: 02/01/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: With Gallipoli, Beirut finally bring their sound into the present-day with one of their best records to date.

In my mind, though it may seem irrational to me now, there were only two directions Beirut could go after 2015’s No No No. The first would see band leader Zach Condon double-down on No No No’s sound, one that seemed to give off an uncomfortable emptiness. With the circumstances surrounding that album’s release (a storm peppered with exhaustion and a divorce), it’s clear that the feelings Condon wanted to express did not translate as well as he may have hoped. The other would have the band return to the sound that brought him to the forefront of indie music in the mid-2000s. A return that, while welcomed by many long-time fans, might have seemed disingenuous to others. After all, a lot of the original charm of Beirut was in transporting the listener to a place free from the stresses of the current, a place of warm familiarity.

Four years later and we have our answer: neither. By re-centering themselves, Condon and Co. managed to find the perfect marriage of the adventurous and relaxed, a beautiful new beast to call their own. Songs like the instrumental track “On Mainau Island” show this off well, with Condon’s original Farfisa organ and the band’s Moog synthesizer playing in a sort of strange harmony together. This harmony is also seen on the track “Family Curse,” before eventually tearing down its own walls in favor of a masterfully-done introduction of brass and percussion.

Zach Condon and his small group of talented players deserve the bulk of the credit for making this release work as well as it does. Going by recollections written by Condon prior to the album’s release, it seemed that they were just as eager to push the envelope as he was:

“we proceeded to channel every note played through a series of broken amplifiers, PA systems, space echoes and tape machines, sometimes leaving a modular synth looping in the live room… I wanted every creak and groan of the instruments, every detuned note, every amp buzz and technical malfunction to be left in the cracks of the songs.”

The album’s title track “Gallipoli” reflects this manner of thinking and is made all the better because of it. Condon’s trademark tenor crooning over some of the band’s best work to date. Another highlight is found in the infectious “Gauze Für Zah,” with its layered vocals and penetrating organ/drum hits, followed by an extended ambient section to close it out. In my mind, this would have easily been chosen as the album’s closer. However, using it as the opening to Side B of the album works just as fittingly in my eyes.

But speaking of closing tracks, the final two tracks on Gallipoli, “We Never Lived Here” and the aptly-titled “Fin,” are without a doubt the album’s weakest links. While the former is nothing that the album hasn’t delved into already in it’s previous ten tracks, it lacks the flair those tracks had and seems more interested in pulling the listener out of that mood the band had been building up until that point. “Fin” dips even further away, opting for a modular synth sound that completely feels out of place. It’s a shame that tracks like “Light in the Atoll” or the aforementioned “Gauze Für Zah,” both of which had a perfect sense of finality built-in to them, were not used to their fullest potential.

All of that said, I cannot deny all of the things the album does right. From its characteristically somber lyrics to the sweet sounds of Condon’s vox to the stellar brass, keys, and drums. But what Gallipoli does better than any other Beirut album is make you comfortable with living in the present moment. A sense of exploration and lust for life that the band (and especially Condon) has been lacking for such a long time. While it isn’t exactly a continuation of one singular album in Beirut’s discography, Gallipoli is the necessary next step they needed: a merging of ideas old and new. And when asked to walk, they marched ahead instead.



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user ratings (45)
3.2
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
SandwichBubble
February 2nd 2019


10120 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Sources:

https://consequenceofsound.net/2019/02/beirut-gallipoli-stream-track-by-track/

https://web.archive.org/web/20181025093821/https://www.beirutband.com/



Yeeaaaaaaaah buddy, a day one (or two because of sput's internal clock) review.

Any feedback is appreciated, cause I just wanted somewhere to talk about how good this is.

Digging: A Witness - Red Snake

ramon.
Contributing Reviewer
February 2nd 2019


3340 Comments


oh no, here comes the anzac biccy
for those who fought in galipol
to commemorate all our boys

haven't jammed this band before but I'm excited to try this after the review. could probably drop the "One of the album's singles and..." from the opening line of the 5th para. likewise for "...I suppose now would be the proper time to bring up the album’s weakest moments" in the second last para; I think you can just take the first half of the sentence and link it directly into the next sentence. otherwise, you've got a good balance of critique and description here. gonna jam this later, pos my lubbly

SandwichBubble
February 2nd 2019


10120 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Much obliged, those two lines read a lot better now!



And definitely jam this. And the rest of the discog if you like it.

brainmelter
February 2nd 2019


6632 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hell yeah band rules, pos’d

Digging: Caribou - Start Breaking My Heart

SandwichBubble
February 2nd 2019


10120 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Danke.



Really nice to have a good Beirut album to talk about. And kind of sad No No No didn't even get a review 4 years after it's release.



Gauze für Zah through Landslide is just ace.

ramon.
Contributing Reviewer
February 2nd 2019


3340 Comments


half way through the first track and can already tell im going to love this.

SandwichBubble
February 2nd 2019


10120 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

It's hard to talk about this without overselling it, but I hope it hits the bulls-eye of yr heart

DoofDoof
February 2nd 2019


5192 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Now I have to relistem and I really didn’t like this first listen

DoofDoof
February 2nd 2019


5192 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Listening again...sounds a lot like early Jens Lekman without being as in service of ‘the song’



Something like ‘Black Cab’, strip away it being an amazing song, then it’d sound like everything here

DoofDoof
February 2nd 2019


5192 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Ok, this is a strange album in that the music is very ‘light touch’ and I keep asking ‘would this music work better as instrumental music?’ but I think it’s too inconsequential and background-y - needs vocals, but these vocals are top of the mix ‘heavy touch’ Morrissey with tooth ache style.



Which means this is a male vocal showcase album (honestly, as much as Rufus Wainwright or Lekman, that much)...but I don’t really like what he does with his vocals at all.



Ah well. Still, music is ok so a respectable Doof 2.5

Papa Universe
February 2nd 2019


22419 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

going against the tide or are you actually right, Sand?

galliPOSi

SandwichBubble
February 2nd 2019


10120 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

"are you actually right, Sand?"

First time for everything 😎



Also, should I ask for a feature? I've never done that before, but I want as many wrinkly Beirut fans to see this as possible

Papa Universe
February 2nd 2019


22419 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

don't belittle yourself, I'll do it for you, bub

Papa Universe
February 2nd 2019


22419 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

oh you did it already. nevermind

SandwichBubble
February 2nd 2019


10120 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I was too quick to the trigger, sorry!

Thank you for offering me some help though, friend 😎



Knock on wood, but every new release I review tends to get like a 3.1 average by the end of it's life cycle.

Papa Universe
February 2nd 2019


22419 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

well, this one's 3.2

a change of pace a-comin'?

SandwichBubble
February 2nd 2019


10120 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Everything's comin' up Milhouse!



Woah it actually got featured. Everything is comin' up Milhouse. Thanks mods/whomever.

Papa Universe
February 2nd 2019


22419 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

so off the top, I love the atmosphere. reminds me of some summer vacation in the 50s, but the song-writing just doesn't do a damn thing for me.

SandwichBubble
February 2nd 2019


10120 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Well, that's a shame. I really like the "simpler" lyrics on this. Glad we can at least agree on the atmosphere. Easily the album's best quality.

Skoj
February 2nd 2019


1806 Comments


this is their best work since gulag



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