Friday, August 12, 2011

Beirut's Uncanny Nostalgia Trips

Nothing transports me quite like Beirut. Oftentimes, while listening to their music, I'm taken to foreign countries, pieces of my ancestry, a time before I existed. And, more often then not, into my own memories.

Listening to March of the Zapotec, I'm back in the Appalachian hills of Athens. I don't pack myself dinners for work, and I have no idea that I'm capable of a half-marathon. Life is uncertain, and the moments are more important than the end goal. Well, not really, I always was that kinda girl who's concerned about the future. But the moments, there were plenty.

I did best when I slept til 9, squeezed in bike rides between classes, never forgot to set my alarm. I never knew who I was going to meet that night, or where I'd end up.

Life is now routine, I pack my dinners, and my job requirement of listening to police scanners for 9 straight hours has lessened my desire for late nights of music listening. I come home. I want silence. It takes something pretty strong to waken my senses.

Beirut's new album, The Rip Tide, has already struck me with it's grandness. It could make me cry, its unabashed horns and bold gestures. It takes you to a place... a place more important than the current minute inner-workings of your world. Wall Street is a set of two words, and I don't even know what unemployment numbers mean -- let's just hold hands and forget about it for a few minutes.

The electronic effects we first heard Zack Condon release with Holland, the previously unreleased solo bedroom project that made up the second half of the March of the Zapotec album, sneak into songs like "Santa Fe." But halfway through the song, they're hidden beneath a behemoth of ringing trumpets. It's the best of both worlds. Very human in the midst of the technology Condon's unleashing.

The strum of acoustics on "East Harlem" is so twee and special sounding, like it was dreamed up for a child's birthday party. Condon's deep vibrato could pop the biggest balloon at the party.

Not a song in this collection is anything but beautiful and unique, a web of shimmering gems in a sea of Odd Future horribleness and Kanye West's ego. It so far transcends the moment in which it has been captured, just nine songs drawing strength from the beauty of their instruments played to the highest caliber.

Maybe it's not as grand as I'm making it out to be, but it's so easy to get lost in these moments, forgetting about the all-consuming, at-times horrifying details of everyday life. And getting lost in the moments can be more valuable than... well, anything.

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