By Sheena Antonios
Beirut – Gallipoli
Beirut frontman, Zach Condon comes out cymbals crashing with Beirut’s fifth studio album. Gallipoli was recorded in Southern Italy and receives its name from an Italian town Condon and his bandmates visited during recording.
Often times mesmerizing, Gallipoli more closely resembles Beirut’s first two albums, Gulag Orkestar and The Flying Cup rather than Condon’s more recent work. This resemblance is in part due to the large presence of the organ on which Condon wrote all three albums but also the return to the often-incomprehensible lyrical style heard in his earlier work. An effective return to Beirut’s Balkan folk-inspired, breakthrough sound, Gallipoli distinguishes itself with eccentric, screeching organ on the instrumental “On Mainau Island” and the wonderfully wordless melodies in “Varieties of Exile.” True to Beirut fashion, the quirky instrumental and intricate Gallipoli has the ability to transport the listener to a different period in time. Gallipoli features a marvelous medley of brass instruments, organ and Condon’s hypnotizing melancholy vocals.
Along with the release of the single, “Gallipoli,” Condon offers this fairy-tale-like reflection of how the album’s first single came to be, “We stumbled into a medieval-fortressed island town of Gallipoli one night and followed a brass band procession fronted by priests carrying a statue of the town’s saint through the winding narrow streets behind what seemed like the entire town. The next day I wrote the song I ended up calling ‘Gallipoli’ entirely in one sitting, pausing only to eat.”