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CD Review: Beirut's "The Flying Cup Club"

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Artist: Beirut
Album: The Flying Club Cup
Label: Ba Da Bing Records
Release Date: 10/09/07

Listen to the track "A Sunday Smile":

Beirut is the brainshild of the oft-blogged travelling wunderkind 21-yr old Zach Condon. Whereas Beirut's debut release, Gulag Orkestar, was an obtuse and idealized interpretation of Balkan music, this new release is Zach's take on the music of Parisian street minstrels. With multiple vocal and string tracks, in addition to the expected accordion and trumpet, Beirut presents a much more dense sound than what would be heard on any random rue Francaise.

For those of you who've heard the Arcade Fire (and who hasn't, they even played on SNL), the anthematic quality of Beirut's songs will be familiar to you but with a twinge more Eastern European dirginess. To further weld the connection, it should be noted that The Flying Club Cup was recorded at the Arcade Fire's studio using many of their instruments.

Favorite tracks on this album were a couple of the less oom-pah-pah offerings: "The Penalty" and "In The Mausoleum". If you're an Arcade Fire, or better yet, a Francois Hardy or Jacques Brel devotee, you'll love this record as will many folk music aficionados. If you're not such a fan of that kind of tortured and kitschy romanticism, then I'd probably avoid it since it is much more than a mere introduction to this style - it's fully committed.