The Flying Club Cup
Like The Arcade Fire before them, Beirut are one of those special bands. Essentially the vision of 21 year old, Zach Condon, they create music utterly unlike anything else around.
The Flying Club Cup is a whirl of accordion, clattering drums and sweeping strings, evoking an idyllic Parisian cityscape in the summer. It is the result of an inimitable and inspired vision, and is a must for everyone who enjoys music.
This is not exactly a typical album a 21 year old would put out, the main influence clearly being Jacques Brel rather than say, Oasis. The celebratory carnival of 'Guyamas Sonora' could have been recorded at any point in the last eighty years, if it wasn't for the more polished production values.
Condon himself said in an interview that he was aiming for a French chamber music sound with 'big, glorious, over-the-top arrangements', and they are present in abundance, helped immeasurably by the addition of Owen Pallett on string arrangements. Pallett does on this record what he has done with the Arcade Fire and his own project, Final Fantasy; create stirring arrangements that can at once break your heart or make you glad to be alive.
Another surprise on this record is the development of Condon as a vocalist. On Gulag Orkestar, his voice was very much like another instrument, in an early R.E.M. Michael Stipe style. But now, he seems to be striving for more clarity, particularly on the warm and vivid 'Cliquot'.
Being such an excellent album, it is difficult to pick highlights, particularly because of the way the album fits together so perfectly as a collection of songs. So all I will say is that this album comes out on 9th October, make a point of hearing it as soon as you can.