Sunday, July 26, 2009

Beirut- Gulag Orkestar

Time and again, the most powerful element of Gulag Orkestar, and what ought to be emphasized, is Condon's acrobatic, powerful, emotionally nuanced voice. It could carry any style of music. Fixate for a second on the stuff he's doing on "Rhineland (Heartland)". The lyrics are dopey, but his trills and whirls are mind-blowing. Pairing these melodies with Eastern European accouterments in lieu of standard guitar-pop creates an obvious appeal. Still, the question ought to be asked: Are the songs really so incredible or do they simply mimic and mine musical traditions unfamiliar to the average indie rock fan? That said, the best songs here are a joy and the average and ho-hum tunes even have a thick and aesthetically appealing atmosphere-- in other words, it's an impressive and precocious debut.- Pitchfork


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