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coverpic flag US - New Mexico - Full Moon 235 - 10/27/15

Beirut
No No No
4AD / Playground

It's been some time since Zach Condon and his brainchild, Beirut, released an album. The four-year long hiatus can be sensed in the new record No No No which came out this fall. In comparison to Condon's previous records (The Flying Club Cup and The Rip Tide), No No No offers little of the band's signature accordion-jamming, horn-blowing and ukulele-plucking. Gone are the folk-inspired orchestras, and instead, Condon and Beirut has opted for a more basic, but still playful, piano-inspired approach.

No No No is at its best when its upbeat. I really enjoyed the two singles, "Gibraltar" and the titular "No No No". Both tracks are reminiscent of Beirut's early work, light-hearted and amusing, but somewhat stripped-down. The lack of Beirut's staple orchestral sound might not damage the aforementioned songs, but it does make the some of the more downbeat tracks more rigid, mechanic... and boring. A melancholig keyboard coupled with a fairly conservative horn- and string-ensemble makes it difficult to distinguish the various facets of the record at the first listening.

Still, something has not changed. Condon continues to use his wonderful voice as an instrument. On one hand, I've never been able to extract substantial amounts of meaning from Condon's lyrics. But then again, that might not be the point. For Condon the lyrics are subjected, or complimentary, to the melody.

In this case the soup costs more than it tastes. No No No is a decent album and well recorded, but it lacks the gusto I would usually ascribe to records by Beirut.

Copyright © 2015 Jord Nylenna e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Beirut articles/reviews: The Flying Club Cup, The Rip Tide.

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