After the critical acclaim of his first album, Gulag Orkestar, Beirut--also known as Zach Condon--has made a name for himself through his eclectic, Gypsy-feeling, Balkan-inspired music.
His new album, The Flying Club Cup, is based on Condon's trip to France, with each song meant to inspire the feeling of a town he visited during the trip. In addition to the album's slightly different flavour, Condon enlisted the talents of Final Fantasy's Owen Pallett. Pallett contributed string arrangements to each song as well as guest vocals for one track. The pairing of Condon and Pallett hits the nail on the head, as Pallett's strings excellently compliment Condon's creations. Unlike Orkestar were Condon played all of the instruments himself, Club Cup has introduced a touring and recording band to enrich Condon's creations. The French-inspired aesthetic is furthered as the album art was created from photos that Condon found while he was on his trip.
"Guyamas Sonora" is an epic offering, with multi-layered vocals, almost tribal drum beats and strong horns right off the bat. It is a perfect representation of Condon's ability to mix simple elements into a impactful track. "Cliquot" features Pallett on vocals and does a fantastic job of conveying the French feeling of the album with overarching accordion and features military-esque snare drum pushing the song forward.
Condon displays maturity beyond his years with creative arrangements of unconventional instruments and a strong, emotion-conveying voice, making for a compelling offering in The Flying Club Cup and great confirmation of Beirut's innovative musical talent.