Beirut - The Rip Tide
With Beirut's previous full lengths, and perhaps to a slightly lesser degree 2009’s double EP, Zach Condon and his band demonstrated a knack for revealing moments of incredibly moving and fragile melody that was enough to bring a listener to tears, albeit tears of joy. The Rip Tide is less so about those particular parts, though they are still there, and instead collects together some of the band's most immediate sounding pieces of music in what is perhaps their most cohesive album yet.
The rustic opening and grand horns of ‘A Candle’s Fire’ do well to set up the rest of The Rip Tide, displaying all that makes Beirut so enchanting to their fans. It may not be anything of a big departure for the band, but it does see them digging through a seemingly endless trove of uplifting and emotional sounds. The bouncy synthesizers that open the brilliant ‘Santa Fe’ are probably the most alien element this time around but they quickly blend with the rest of the instrumentation, retaining their naturally grandiose atmosphere.
As is usual, Condon’s vocals really are the defining element of Beirut; his distinct and slightly smoky delivery making the title track just that little bit more magical, particularly when he employs harmonies amongst the piano and distant trumpets. Following on is the almost theatrical stylings of ‘Vagabond' which again makes use of more electronic textures, building up to a warm and triumphant finale. 'Port of Call' is one of those snapshots of beauty mentioned previously as ukulele serenades the listener at the close of the record. With The Rip Tide, Condon has well and truly cemented himself as a captivating and whimsical song-writer.