Beirut – The Rip Tide album review

Beirut’s The Rip Tide is not much different from 2007s The Flying Cup Club. And at a time where Indie music has been moving away from dreams of old Europe and towards modern synthesizers, it seems like Condon is holding onto something. Despite Condon’s claims that The Rip Tide is somehow sunnier than The Flying Cup Club, there’s really no progression between the albums. If something may be said for Condon’s vision, his vocals are deeper and more entrenched in cultural lore (though not experienced first-hand) than the ever-more-popular auto-tuned voice. Condon has visions of old Europe, a dream of a loftier past that he refuses to let go of as music moves in an ultra-synthetic direction. He keeps the dusty piano and trumpet from previous albums, perhaps limiting himself even more. The effect is that Beirut still sounds like Beirut. The Rip Tide is a bit lighter than previous albums, but it seems like that is the only change Condon makes.

For anyone who found previous Beirut albums sleepy, The Rip Tide is no different. Condon knows what he wants to do and keeps his melodies pretty uniform. They’re sonorous and antiquated, the more melancholy parts sounding like a lament. Condon’s voice is as hypnotic as ever, pulling you into his vision of old Europe and maybe putting the listener to sleep at the same time. Condon’s singing has evolved since he dropped his first Beirut album at 19, and it’s this change that’s the best new thing to listen for on the new album.

The Rip Tide is another Beirut album, with a grown singer and more focused instruments. It has the potential to put someone to sleep and to fill the listener with nostalgia at the same time. It definitely isn’t typical of the direction indie music is taking in the 10s. If anything, Condon is focusing more on his nostalgic vision than looking forward. Beirut is holding onto old Europe when others are using synths. Condon hasn’t changed a thing.

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