Pop & Rock 2011: 30 Best Albums
Building previous records around Left Bank leanings, Balkan folk, and a mélange of Euro-centric sounds, Beirut mastermind Zach Condon typically finds inspiration an ocean away and a century back. With excellent third album, The Rip Tide, he marches out of the Parisian café, looking inward and embracing Western pop without losing his affinity for multi-tiered composition. As the title suggests, inertia (in general) and movement (specifically) dominate both the thematic and musical landscapes. Overtly, "Vagabond" is about wandering and its jaunty keys and harpsichord augment that. On the other hand, "Santa Fe" ― Condon's birthplace ― contemplates home, tellingly using driving synths and horns. Similarly, marching drums on "A Candle's Fire" and the lyrical repetition of "Payne's Bay" keep the affair peripatetic. On "East Harlem," Condon coos, "Sound is the colour I know," and that notion permeates the entire LP. Every track slyly plays with form and function, carefully blending each constituent part. Highlights, "The Rip Tide" and "Goshen," are ostensibly simple, but their complexity comes through on each subsequent listen. The former, full of sparse brass, is lonely yet dense. Conversely, the latter seems like a straightforward piano ballad, though its sweeping horn and choral harmonies would disagree. A deeply considerate composer, Condon's unique balance of influences has always dominated the Beirut ethos. However, on The Rip Tide he re-focuses his curiosity, taking time for reflection and creating an entirely beautiful and insightful record in the process.
FeaturesMay 28, 2015
Patrick WatsonBlinded By Science
An album about robots may seem suited for the kind of experimentalism seen in science fiction, but Patrick Watson — the Montreal-based...
FeaturesMay 26, 2015
Samantha Savage SmithSteps Outside the Box
It took four years for the release of Calgary singer-songwriter Samantha Savage Smith's follow-up to her 2011 debut. In that time Smith has ...
FeaturesMay 26, 2015
High EndsClass Act
There's a line at the start of "Working Man's Blue," the last song on Yukon Blonde frontman Jeffrey Innes's debut LP as High Ends, that goes...
StreamsMay 25, 2015
Pick a Piper"Dinghy in a Quiet Cove" on Exclaim! TV
Although Pick a Piper started as a group that aim to bring "organic dance music," their switch to electronic instrumentation did not stop th...
NewsMay 25, 2015
Shamir Finds His Disco-Pop Voice on 'Ratchet'
One of last year's best new discoveries was a confident debut single called "If It Wasn't True" that sounded straight out of the DFA laborat...
FeaturesMay 22, 2015
How I PlayDine Alone Records' Joel Carriere
It all started in a mall. Joel Carriere was working at Sam the Record Man in St. Catharines, ON. Still in his early 20s, the local show prom...
NewsMay 21, 2015
Patrick Watson Melds Flesh and Machine on 'Love Songs for Robots'
Patrick Watson's new album may be called Love Songs for Robots, but it was inspired less by science fiction than science fact. The Montreal-...
NewsMay 20, 2015
Brandon Flowers Goes in Depth on the Killer Collaborations of 'The Desired Effect'
Brandon Flowers is best known as the frontman for the Killers, but for the second time in five years, he has gone out on his own. While the ...