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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Review: Beirut’s new LP falls short of the rest

    No+No+No%2C+Beiruts+fifth+LP+out+Friday%2C+September+11th

    No No No, Beirut’s fifth LP out Friday, September 11th

    The first time crossing into the great beyond is a transformative experience. Traveling outside the borders of our familiar home expands the mind to experience new possibilities and ways of life never before encountered. Out with the old and in with the new, as they say.

    This must have been the case for Zach Condon, frontman for the band Beirut, who left home for Europe at age 17 and returned with a catchy world pop sound that’s been stuck in everyone’s head for the last 10 years.

    Today marks the release of Beirut’s much anticipated fifth LP, No No No.

    No No No drops after more than four years since the band’s last album, The Rip Tide. This studio album comes after a tumultuous time in Condon’s life, involving a divorce and brief hospitalization. The melancholy of such circumstances seeps into the album and casts a haze over its entirety. This downtrodden tone stays consistent throughout, to the point of growing stale.

    The tracklist of No No No runs nine deep, with two songs, “At Once” and “No No No,”clocking in at sub-three-minute times. Brevity may be the soul of wit, but that only works if you say more with less.

    “No No No” says the same thing, repeatedly. The lack of variety in tone and timbre causes the second half of the album to slide in one ear and out the other, as it lacks the distinct kick that flavored previous albums Gulag Orkestar and The Flying Club Cup.

    One thing No No No still implements is similar, uncommon sounds and instruments heard in previous albums.

    World music flare has always been Beirut’s strong suit and here, that strength is present but stripped down. Fans are still likely to hear crazy sounds that make you wonder what instrument could possibly produce such interesting noises, but these often act as back tracks rather than demanding the spotlight.

    Nevertheless, the best songs on the album feature a distinctly “other” sound that differentiates Beirut from any other band out there. Djembe drums and snazzy snares punctuate the opening track “Gibraltar,” a song that will have you tapping your foot and bobbing your head.

    Condon’s wistful voice, a perfect mix of pensive melancholy and comfort, remains the one constant throughout the album; it carries the sorrow of troubles past with a quiet optimism for the future. Surprisingly, one of the stronger songs, “As Needed”, forgoes Condon’s crooning as a fully instrumental track, but still retains the essence of his desolate optimism.

    The title track and lead single, “No No No,” is undoubtedly the strongest of the album. The song alludes to the enchantment of a new love, despite the ghosts of relationships past, causing a hesitation to fall headfirst in love once again.

    If the quality of the rest of the album lived up to “No No No”, it would have been worth waiting for. Instead, it marks a solid effort from Beirut, an album that nearly crests the hill of good, but is nowhere near within sight of great.

    Rating: 6/10 Check out:
    “No No No”

    “Gibraltar”

    “As Needed”


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