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.
FeaturesJul 29, 2015
Titus AndronicusAmbition In Five Acts
Since Patrick Stickles rose up with fists held high in July 2005 as frontman for Titus Andronicus, he and the band have done nothing half-as...
StreamsJul 22, 2015
The Lonely Parade"Girl" on Exclaim! TV
Augusta Veno, Charlotte Dempsey and Anwyn Climenhage are the Lonely Parade, a punk-y indie rock trio from Peterborough, ON. Their debut albu...
StreamsJul 21, 2015
Elliot Maginot"Monsters at War" on Exclaim! TV
After spending his teen years playing in skate-punk garage bands, Montreal musician Elliot Maginot's debut LP might come as a surprise. Insp...
FeaturesJul 21, 2015
Conor OberstFolk In Many Guises
Conor Oberst is many things to many people. Emo wunderkind, folk troubadour, rock'n'roll saviour — he's been called it all. Yet for so...
NewsJul 21, 2015
Titus Andronicus Dissect the Epic, Emotional 'Most Lamentable Tragedy'
"By the way, all my tears are on the record," Titus Andronicus frontman Patrick Stickles tells Exclaim! over the phone from his NYC home. "T...
ReviewsJul 20, 2015
Hundred WatersBass Camp Stage, Pemberton BC, July 19
Falling right into the beautifully crafted "Out Alee," Hundred Waters graced the Bass Camp Stage on the last day of Pemberton (July 19). Cup...
StreamsJul 17, 2015
The Muscadettes"Growing Pains" on Exclaim! TV
Twin sisters Chantal and Kathleen Ambridge are the Muscadettes, a band whose sun-drenched, reverb-laden sound reflects an upbringing on '60s...
NewsJul 17, 2015
Left and Leaving: An Essential Weakerthans Playlist
Earlier this week, beloved Winnipeg indie rockers the Weakerthans broke the hearts of Canadian music fans everywhere when drummer Jason Tait...