Beirut - No No No: Album Review
Beirut - No No No: Album Review
- Genre : Indie
- Type: News
- Author : Super Admin
- Date : Tue, 01 Dec 2015
(4AD)There is a distance that lingers between the notes in Beirut's No No No. In the past, Zach Condon's folk orchestras filled those gaps. Big brass bands with as many as 17 members blew melodies filling each moment with the familiar ring of the old country. The band's first LP Gulag Orkestar was ripe with Balkan overtones, then with The Flying Club Cup came Third Republic France, and later March of the Zapotec/Realpeople Holland drew from Mexico. No No No, however, does not involve another piece of ethnomusicology, though it still innately discusses time and distance.
Seeming like a simple stripped sketch of what was formerly known as a Beirut album, No No No is a piece of uncertain wonder, a push towards mainstream ideals that still relies on the band's nomadic inspiration. Beirut has always been stitched to Zach Condon's most recent journey, and filled with sights and sounds of looking back. Now looking forward, it seems as if he has set his sites on modern times.
It's not Beirut's first step in the direction of American pop music. The Rip Tide presented pieces of the commercialized style that has only become in vogue over the last half-decade. "Santa Fe," an homage to Condon's hometown, was filled with electronic sounds that were becoming popular at the time. In a sense, it was a return home from "the vagabond thing" Condon had been doing for quite a while. Back then, he wasn't yet divorced, hadn't suffered a mental and physical breakdown from exhaustion, and was living what most would call a normal life.
No No No finds Condon figuring out his current home with pop. His migratory ways have become a part of him and the distance he has covered can be felt in the stark structures found throughout the album. Condon tries to persuade on opening track "Gibraltar," "everything should be fine," but he is aware of how unreliable he sounds as a narrator. It's clear that the space Condon has covered wears on him and he finds himself dealing with the contrast of home and movement, and the expanse surrounding his arrangements.
"Perth," the sixth track off the album, excels in turning these voids into upbeat moments that love the space they are given. The drastic contrast between No No No and Beirut's past albums is what makes it such an interesting piece, especially since the album itself is about contrast. Full orchestras versus bare tracks, putting down roots versus gallivanting, divorce versus marriage, he is comparing his past to his present and finding what works. The title track repeats "don't know the first thing about who you are" four times, and Condon seems to be trying to figure out exactly who he or anyone else is. Meanwhile, "Gibraltar" ponders the differences between love and lust, and how far apart the two really are.
On No No No Zach Condon appears to be stretching his legs, letting them hang off into the void. He is looking into the distance and searching for his future. Behind him lingers a failed marriage and a variety of albums engrossed in the sounds of the past. Ahead of him? He's not really sure but he seems willing to keep wandering till he finds out.
—The ARTISTdirect Staff
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