Beirut lifts itself to new heights

by Conner Cox


Beirut has triumphantly returned to the indie rock scene with its new album, “The Rip Tide.” Although Beirut isn’t even close to gaining the success Arcade Fire has achieved, the band’s profile has risen greatly since 2007. In fact, this summer lead singer of the Strokes, Julian Casablancas, wanted to catch a glimpse of the Beirut show which caused the band to be 20 minutes late to its Bonnaroo show. It’s pretty obvious why Beirut was worth the delay: It’s one of the few bands doing its own thing and no one else sounds anything like it.

“The Rip Tide” begins with a more cheerful energy than the band’s previous work, which seems to be symbolic of its return from hiatus. The first 15 seconds of the opener, “A Candle’s Fire,” sound like a lost accordion player trying to find the direction of the song before eventually transforming into a beautiful track. This gives the listener a promising notion for the rest of the record. Beirut has kept its traditional romantic European sound while adding more substance to each track. Songs such as “Santa Fe” and “East Harlem” have catchier compositions similar to “A Sunday Smile” from the sophomore album, “The Flying Club Cup.”

But the album doesn’t quite meet its maximum potential until the title track “The Rip Tide,” which is complemented by “Vagabond.” These two songs reveal the level of maturity the band has gained, while other songs begin as if they’re going to drag on without a climax. The last song, “Port of Call,” begins with a humble acoustic chord progression which is greeted halfway by a friendly trumpet section that enhances the rest of the track.

Returning listeners of the Santa Fe, N.M.-based collective may feel sold short after only one listen, but “The Rip Tide” is a record that grows on the listener after a few rotations. While it’s disappointing that there are only nine songs on the album, each listen will provide something new to discover. “The Rip Tide” is now available on CD, vinyl, and digital download.