Beirut - The Flying Club Cup review

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Album Art
Album Art


General Information

Original Author: Duncan

Artist: Beirut

Album: The Flying Club Cup

Year: 2007

Record Label: 4AD Records

Genre: Folk/Gypsy/Indie

Track Listing

1. A Call to Arms
2. Nantes
3. A Sunday Smile
4. Guyamas Sonora
5. La Banlieue
6. Cliquot
7. The Penalty
8. Forks and Knives (La Fête)
9. In the Mausoleum
10. Un Dernier Verre (Pour la Route)
11. Cherbourg
12. St. Apollonia
13. The Flying Club Cup

Beirut are a bit of a strange band/artist and I'm not sure what many of you will think of this, but I've recently listened to this for the first time so I thought I may as well post a review. Some may view this album as a bit pretentious but if you can get past this you may be surprised. The man behind Beirut is Zach Condon from Sante Fe. This album has been in my possession for a while as their first (Gulag Orkestar) interested me a fair bit. I completely forgot about it though until a friend mentioned it a few days ago. I decided to go home and give it a listen.

Quote from Zach Condon about the inspiration of the album:
I was listening to a lot of Jacques Brel and French chanson music—pop songs shrouded in big, glorious, over-the-top arrangements and all this drama—and that was in some sense unfamiliar territory to me. So I started buying new instruments and relying on things I wasn't necessarily comfortable with, like French horns and euphoniums, carrying these big, epic big brass parts that I used to do all on trumpets, and working with accordion and organ instead of all ukulele—very much throwing myself in the world of classical pop music, I guess you could say.

Sound: 9/10

Really good. The sheer amount of instruments sometimes used you'd think it may sometimes sound a bit messy but it is actually mixed really well. Zach's voice comes through nice and strong in every track, so I'm very happy with it.

Instruments: 8/10

I'm not really an expert of most of the instruments used so I can't comment fully. All I can say is there is never an instrument being used that I would rather wasn't. It all fits together nicely.

Lyrics/Vocals: 6/10

I really really like the vocals on this record. Zach's voice can be hypnotising and sometimes almost haunting. His singing ability isn't as good as other bands and his range may not be as great but it fits the music perfectly. Lyrics on tracks such as Nantes though are deep and meaningful and add to the overall atmosphere created. Unfortunately I find it hard to relate to the lyrics in many of the songs which has dragged the score for this section down. Don't let it put you off though, the singing is still good (and to be fair I rarely pay much attention to lyrics).

Overall Impression: 7/10

To say that Beirut have progressed since their first release would be an understatement. The Flying Club Cup takes the band in a new direction and it is clear that Zach is extremely talented. For someone so young to be producing albums are such quality is to be admired. He clearly has lots of ideas and I hope he continues writing for years to come. The highlights of this album would have to be Nantes, which is absolutely brilliant. To name a few more: A Sunday Smile, La Banlieve are also solid tracks. However, despite the obvious great effort that has gone into this album I get the feeling that something is missing. Really good tracks seem to be too scattered and the others don't engage me as much as I was hoping. For someone so young though this is easily forgiven. This album is definitely worth a listen, even if only to try something new. I look forward to future releases from Beirut in the years to come.

If anyone wants to listen you can head over to [1] where they can hear my favourite track; Nantes.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy.