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CD Review: Beirut

The Rip Tide (Pompeii)


In the four years since his band's last album, Beirut's Zach Condon has scaled back his boozy Balkan folk music to a finely tuned stroll through a gypsy carnival. Actually, it sounds more like the day after the carnival pulled out of town. Still building his songs on a shaky foundation of woozy accordions, saloon pianos, and mournful horns, the Santa Fe native finds 19th-century Europe via a more contemporary map on The Rip Tide. Electronic whooshes surge through "Santa Fe," and the rhythmic marches of other songs are more in step with other venturous indie rockers. On the album's best tracks, "East Harlem" and "Goshen," Beirut split the difference between the old and new worlds, still steeped in traditionalism but guided by a spark of 21st-century modernism. — Michael Gallucci

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