Zach Condon and co. release their fifth album with Gallipoli, and with it, find themselves falling back to their roots. Titled after a town in Italy where most of the album was written, Beirut delivers an album that presents a warm and vibrant sound that makes even the most cold-hearted of listeners tap their feet.
Following up Beirut’s 2015 skeleton of an album, No No No, the Santa Fe band ushers in a more complete feel as they reintroduce the familiar horns and organ that made fans fall in love with the band in the first place.
“When I Die,” starts the album off small, but midway through explodes into a vast chorus. What is immediately evident is the front row seat that the instrumental takes within the song. Sonically, it’s a vast and sprawling picture of an impending and communal end.
Though the majority of the album feels like a return to an old, familiar sound for Beirut, there are tracks scattered throughout that hint at a new and more experimental sound. In a recent interview with Consequence of Sound, Condon explains that recently he has been going to experimental club shows, listening to atonal, synthesizer music testing out new ways to create sound with the same instruments he’s been using for years.
This influence most obviously comes to fruition with “On Mainau Island.” Condon plays his jangly organ through a variety of filters and the result is mesmerizing. Like a triumphant march, the track loops and fades away, only to evolve back into Beirut’s original baroque sound in “I Giardini.”
“We Never Lived Here” and “Fin,” the final tracks feel like the perfect place for Beirut to leave the listeners at. Condon creates the ultimate Beirut track with “We Never Lived Here,” incorporating the quirkiest of synths, a horn section to make you weep and Condon’s signature croon. “Fin,” Gallipoli’s final track, is exactly what it should be and emulates perfectly what Condon felt at that moment, “Tape loops and piano and a beach boy harmony and a sigh of relief as I realized I had once again finished an album.”
Throughout Gallipoli, it feels as if Beirut is celebrating a return to form. A return from the bare bones production of the past to a more glowing piece of work. One that finds itself barring the familiar production of 2000s Beirut, but acknowledges that there is room to run as they hint at a more experimental sound to come.