‘Gallipoli’, the fifth album from Zach Condon’s Beirut saw him (literally) returning to practices of old. The record was written on the same Farfisa organ used to write his first two albums as Beirut (2006’s ‘Gulag Orkestar’ and the following year’s ‘The Flying Club Cup’). As such, there’s a gorgeous familiarity to the record, but it’s also one peppered with adventure.
Largely recorded at a rural studio in southern Italy, there’s a wide-eyed escapism on show, underpinned by its title track. “We stumbled into the 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 entirely in one sitting, pausing only to eat,” Zach has said of the song, and the album feels like a 45-minute getaway from real life, retreating to a calmer, easier place.
Highlights come in the jaunty, sunny-side-up single ‘Landslide’ and the brisk ‘Varieties Of Exile’, and though there’s little up and down across its length, it’s an immersive world to dive into, and a reminder of Zach Condon’s ability to weave glorious soundscapes.
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