US - New Mexico - Full Moon 137 - 11/24/07
The Flying Club Cup
Ba Da Bing!
Zach Condon's one man band (with assistance) Beirut put out a surprisingly smashing debut with Gulag Orkestar last year. A crisp album with ripe and colourful orchestration, inspired by European/Eastern European (Balkan, gypsy, klezmer) traditions. Here's a few more musical and historical postcards from his European travels.
The theme this time is France. Chansons, Beaujolais, (hot air) balloons, beach resorts. Young Zach Condon (21) is for sure a gifted artist and a multi instrumentalist extraordinaire. And a traveller with an eye and ear for the elegant and aesthetic details. The red thread of The Flying Club Cup is the
fiction character Cliquot - friend, companion, hero, rebel, ...ghost? Anyway, the mood and atmosphere is French - France somewhere pre-WW1, back in the 1910s. As the press material states: "Inspired by an obscure photo from 1910 depicting hot air balloons taking flight mere steps away from the Eiffel Tower, an image Zach stuck to the wall for inspiration, The Flying Club Cup is an homage to France's culture, fashion, history and music. In fact, each song intends to evoke a different French city."
After the brief (just a few seconds) introduction "A Call To Arms" the beauty of "Nantes" unveils. This is a great song, maybe one of his finest so far. The waltzy "A Sunday Smile" follows elegantly, not being the only 'waltz' around, as the even more enchanting "Forks and Knives (La Fete)" follows later on
the album. Other fabulous tracks count "The Flying Club Cup", "Guyamas Sonora", "The Penalty". In fact, the entire album works as a brilliant unit. It's a whole not to be torn apart, or enjoyed separately.
The Flying Club Cup is another great album, maybe even better than the debut. There's a very special spirit throughout this record. The songs, their sound and 'vision', seem to be authentic portraits from the past. The music of Beirut could be the most brilliant soundtrack. It's almost like seeing some old
silent feature, with songs and melodies purpose written for the images and the stories told on screen. In black and white, or maybe even better: tinted and toned. Or, it could also be contemporary movies, by, say, Kusturica or Gatlif. The music is a joyful, yet sad-drenched journey. It's carnivalesque, it's
fairgroundish, it's intoxicating, and it makes you happy as your blood rush faster for every song. Makes you want to travel. Condon creates big hearted music.
File together with A Hawk and a Hacksaw and Neutral Milk Hotel. As well as Francois Hardy, Charles Aznavour and Jacques Brel.
Copyright © 2007 Håvard Oppøyen