The Rip Tide.

10 Dec

The Rip Tide is a resplendent continuation of the Beirut‘s Balkan-inspired indie-folk music; trumpet-heavy, garnished with electronica and featuring the smooth vocals of Zach Condon, whose voice sounds as though it’s been pilfered from the 1920s Swing scene.

Aside from being a North American band named after a city in the Mediterranean, Beirut uses names of places in their song titles to emphasize a recurring theme of travel in their music. Their major-key leading melodies underlined with minor intervals create a sense of tragic optimism, and in light of the aforementioned travel theme, a sense of voyaging in an effort to flee one thing and pursue of another: possibly tenuous.


In the context of the more obvious Mexican and Eastern European influences of earlier albums and EPs, The Rip Tide evidences the development of “a style that belongs uniquely and distinctly to Beirut, one that has actually been there all along”*. The album’s sound is furthermore more intimate than Beirut’s previous work for its increased rawness and (in places) decreased layering of sound, for example in “Goshen”, whose up-close-sounding, pedaled piano chords made the synaesthete in me feel bizarrely physically hollow. Singer Zach Condon’s vocals in this track are uncommonly clearly-audible, bringing to the fore the practiced correctness of his presentation of vocal melody. The song builds up towards the end with extra vocal harmonies and a marching-band-type drumbeat.

Lyrically, “Vagabond” showcases an unresolved and more close-to-home interpretation of the Hansel and Gretel fairytale, and “A Candle’s Fire”, in likening romance to inferno, warns that although “a campire…scares me just the same”, “a candle’s fire / is only just a flame”. 

Featuring nine tracks of subtly-varied instrumental constitution, The Rip Tide is poignant, flows smoothly and is definitely worth listening to all in one sitting.


3 Responses to “The Rip Tide.”

  1. Current Coupon Codes 17 December 2011 at 11:13 AM #

    What did you use to design your page? It’s really awesome can you send me an email and let me know?

    • Michelle Avenant 19 December 2011 at 2:15 AM #

      I just use the “Bueno” WordPress theme, and the background is a photograph I took myself, of a Scrabble-board with paper things I cut out and stuck on myself 🙂


  1. Beirut: No No No | Sound & Fury - 15 December 2015

    […] I try to become a little more woke every day, and it’s been 1 466 days since I reviewed Beirut’s last release. Is their discography still the soundtrack to my heartache? Sadly, yes – but this is now […]

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