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.
FeaturesAug 21, 2015
Fred PennerAll My Children
It's been a good while since Fred Penner was on television, but these days, he's having a bit of a moment. He plays festivals regularly; he'...
FeaturesAug 20, 2015
The Exclaim! QuestionnaireCarly Rae Jepsen
Carly Rae Jepsen could have been a one-hit wonder. When the British Columbian singer/songwriter released a single titled "Call Me Maybe" ...
FeaturesAug 19, 2015
Coeur de pirateMap of the Heart
"All my fears and anxieties and all that crap that humans go through — I didn't face them because I was so busy putting my energy into...
NewsAug 19, 2015
Destroyer Explains the Diverse Sound of 'Poison Season'
Dan Bejar has been releasing music as Destroyer since the '90s, but his career hit a new high with 2011's Kaputt. That stunning album catapu...
NewsAug 18, 2015
Five Noteworthy Facts You May Not Know About the Libertines
Propelled by the electrically charged creative partnership between Peter Doherty and Carl Barât, the Libertines may have only released two s...
NewsAug 17, 2015
Beach House's Song Remains the Same, and They're Pleased
Since they formed 10 years ago, Baltimore's Beach House — Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand — have carved out a simple yet signat...
NewsAug 14, 2015
Rocketship Talk 'A Certain Smile, A Certain Sadness' Reissue, New Album
In the annals of 1990s indie pop, Sacramento, CA's Rocketship weren't the most prolific act, but what they did produce has remained timeless...
NewsAug 13, 2015
Coeur de pirate Explores the Tumult That Led to 'Roses'
"I went through things that I never talked about on my other two records." That's all about to change. Béatrice Martin, who records as C...