Review of Elephant Gun Single by Beirut


Beirut Elephant Gun Single

Elephant Gun
Single Review

Now this is an odd one, and no mistake. A lad from New Mexico who makes solo records but performs with a ten-piece band. Apparently he met a bunch of Serb musicians in Paris when he was sixteen and he's never quite been the same since. Well, something's working for young Mr Zach Condon (he's still only twenty-one) , because he's playing festival after festival this summer all over Europe.

So what will audiences hear? Well, if "Elephant Gun" is anything to go by, pretty pop songs sung to a backing of interesting arrangements. "Elephant Gun" has a shuffly, waltzy feel. It's all odd stringed instruments, woozy brass and oompah percussion. It's really rather charming, although it's the instrumentation that holds the attention rather than the song itself, which is pretty thin and flimsy. There's a lovely coda though, in which something that sounds vaguely cornet-like reprises the tune over something that sounds like a badly cranked barrel organ, but probably isn't. It's wistful, in a shabby, faded, decadent kind of way. Very evocative.

"Transatlantique" is more of the same - the same shuffly rhythm, but with sparser instrumentation and less sentimentality. It's less obvious, less melodic, but still kind of fun. And "No, I couldn't tell you how the house burned down" is a fine opening line. "Le Moribond" is a version of a Jacques Brel song, accordion-driven and sprightly.

All in all, a nice little snack. Interesting flavours, but I'm not sure I could eat a whole one.

Jon Watson

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