Beirut - Postcards from Italy
I had heard numerous mentions of Beirut but never really paid attention to them over the years. I say years, I really mean about two, so I was a bit surprised to discover Zachary Francis Condon had been knocking about since 2006. Debut effort in the form of Gulag Orkestar is something different. I’m not one for general folk themes, or world music, but this project is all about exploring. I don’t know how I feel about it.
The music itself is somewhat infectious, especially heard in Postcards from Italy, but for me, it’s Zacharys voice that is the true instrument of Beirut. From what I’ve read, he was only 19 or 20 whilst this album was made, but he has the voice of a rum-swigging 40 something that might have had too many cigarettes before he recorded this album. The major let down of this album is the track Scenic World. It sounded out of place, completely, something the likes of that guy Owl City would make. Disappointing really. Put that aside though, and I’ve got an album I can appreciate.
Postcards from Italy had to be the stand out track. That dreamy, floaty guitar intro coupled with Zacharys voice has a summery haze about it, backed up with a bit of a stomping background. The horns are perfect.