Our Daily Bread 303: Beirut ‘Gallipoli’

February 12, 2019


Album Review: Gianluigi Marsibilio



Beirut ‘Gallipoli’
(4AD) 1st February 2019


A scratch in a forest of familiar sounds.

The new Beirut album is a freaky object, but in some details it revives the old fuses placed by the band on the battleground.

The shining of good past ideas is a necessary work to reaffirm the identity of the Beirut that are exalted in the Farfisa organ and in the galloping sections of winds, as in ‘Family Curse’.

This album follows in the footsteps of an album like March of the Zapotec, throwing us into an ocean of summer images, continental Europe still seen with an eye to the utopia of union. Zach Condon like Thomas More and his island of Utopia draws a world, even today, where contaminations flow and merge win on the walls, closures and fears.

Gallipoli is a bay where the Balkan folk, like Bregovic, can germinate and mix with the ideas of Condon, who uses a very similar instrumentation compared as to that of his previous masterpieces Gulag Orkestar and The Flying Club Cup.

Another peculiarity comes from the choice to capture the record in a fortress in Puglia (Italian region); to reflect by vibrations on the record are the walls of a castle that attaches Beirut not only towards geographical but also historical borders.

Overall, the work is able to light up in pieces like ‘Gallipoli’ or ‘When We Die’, but the feeling is of being in front of a rib, a sequence of the season and not a new and well focused chapter.

The danger of sound homogenization is strong, but with his head held high Condon’s ability to write songs on the thread of wool comes out, with a defined and precise register, a plot now well experienced by Beirut. To attenuate, however, the similarities of the work with the previous discography of the group there is the strong sound contamination that Gallipoli has suffered, while travelling in studios in Italy, Germany and New York.

The ukulele of the first works has disappeared, but the optimistic attitude of Beirut is reflected in background voices, in the raw keyboards and in the wind sections.

Gallipoli is a celebration of the talent of a musician with incredible ideas, so even if not everything is perfectly successful on the album, there is no room for disappointment, tracks like ‘When I Die’ or ‘I Giardini’ are worth it alone.



Words: Gianluigi Marsibilio

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