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Album of the Week: Beirut's The Rip Tide (Download a Free Track)

beirut_082311_1.jpgA model to band geeks the world over, multi-instrumentalist Zach Condon, the unabashed lyrical romantic who fronts the Brooklyn gypsy troupe Beirut, continues his ambitious folk voyage on the band's third full-length album The Rip Tide (Pompeii Records.) At only 25, Condon has the world weariness (and knowledge of world music) of a man twice his age and the sophistication to pull of a sound that could easily come across as corny or kitschy in such young hands. On The Rip Tide he follows in the footsteps of Neutral Milk Hotel, adding eclectic instrumentation, Old World arrangements, and lyrical imagery, while while fashioning his Julian Casablancas voice into a Morrissey-like croon. Lo-fi electronic music bops beneath the sprawling horn riffs and the driving, bassy keyboards on the self-reflective hometown homage "Santa Fe," (download track here) and the organ-heav "Payne's Bay" features backing vocals by singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten. At just a spot over 30 minutes, The Rip Tide is effectively autobiographical despite it's brevity. The waltzy jam "East Harlem," for instance, details a walk through Manhattan to a paramour's house. It's a track on which Beirut's crisp, brassy wind-up chamber music becomes a pop march. Expect fans and newcomers alike to fall in behind.

The Rip Tide is available at music retailers and iTunes today

To download "Santa Fe", click here

By Douglas Q. Smith

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