Beirut The Flying Club Cup

Beirut The Flying Club Cup
It was hard to determine where Beirut would go after last year’s Gulag Orkestar. After establishing himself as something of a prodigy, Zach Condon undoubtedly faced some high expectations and heavy pressure. So, the barely 20-something headed to warmer territory — France, to be exact. Condon’s musical globetrotting is a feat in itself but his knack for soaking up and reformatting music native to a particular region is even greater. Beirut is still multi-instrumental but now the big sound is baroque, refined rather than shambling. Condon’s sheer talent was what was most evident on Gulag Orkestar, but while we were floored by his skills as a conductor then, we now marvel at Condon as a performer and songwriter. His melodies are exquisite at times, and drawn out beautifully by, amongst other things, Owen Pallett’s ubiquitous violin. The Jacques Brel influence is apparent but Condon, who might lack the tall, dark and handsome charm and sheer power of his chief inspiration, has a delivery all his own, and an unexpectedly fine voice. The Flying Cup Club is a beautiful record, and while Condon is adept at piecing together impossibly busy tunes, he’s just as great at building sparingly, relatively speaking, on a single idea. (Ba Da Bing!)