Beirut | The Rip Tide

Pompeii (2011)
By DAN WEISS  |  August 23, 2011
2.5 2.5 Stars

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Check out Zach Condon in the New York Times last month: "I'm sick of seeing 30-year-old men in New York look like toddlers, wearing sweatpants and flip-flops." That's a mixed blessing; on one hand, it's great to see a young, indie-identified songsmith shooting down the gross abundance of neon hipster ugliness in Brooklyn that's usually protected by the banner of irony. But on the other hand, he kind of sounds like an asshole, doesn't he? Railing against sweatpants is a far more egregious brand of bourgeois alienation than anything Vampire Weekend did to deserve their bizarre level of class controversy. And Condon's eternally highbrow music doesn't help — Rufus Wainwright rocks out by comparison. So good for him that Beirut's most tolerable album since the 2006 pairing of Gulag Orkestar and Lon Gisland (both featuring their best song, "Scenic World") keeps it tasteful. By that, I'm referring to the 33-minute running time, not his sad-bastard croon or overshot lyrics — but even those qualities are charming on the stately "East Harlem," and his brass section's grand return on "The Peacock." He'll never be as good as he once was until he hooks up with funereal Balkan scales again, but imitation Magnetic Fields on "Santa Fe" is better than nothing, right?
  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, Beirut, Beirut,  More more >
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