You sit on a soft patch of grass next to a gently flowing river. The sun beams down on a multitude of vibrantly colored umbrellas, protruding from boats carrying couples in the throes of romance. They float down the river at a leisurely pace, and you glance at them as they pass. As your eyes fall upon each, an image materializes in your mind of the exact moment that each relationship dissolves. A gift and a curse. The sun is warm on your face . . .
This album is a strange one, and it had to grow on me before I acknowledged the genius contained. No No No is the newest full-length by Beirut, a band fronted by Santa Fe-native Zach Condon, known for their extravagant, maximalist compositions. This isn’t your typical Beirut record, but don’t let that statement deter you from diving into these beautiful, peculiar songs. This may be Condon’s most transparently “human” music.
The four years since Beirut’s last album embodied the dismantling of Condon’s creative and romantic life. Divorce, hospitalization, and crippling writer’s block culminated in Condon scrapping his initial vision for the next release, and reconstructing from scratch with a fresh mentality and a new instrumentation setup. This is Beirut at their most skeletal and raw, their most intimate, and potentially their most entrancing.
The piano-trio format was utilized for the recording of these songs, making the music more raw and “live”-sounding than previous releases. The bite-sized tracks (none of the 9 songs cross the 4-minute mark) are ornamented with lush horns and glossy strings. Condon’s croon is just as smooth as ever, but he lets the music breathe in a wonderful new way. If you’re seeking lush, beautifully simplistic indie-rock, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)