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Beirut | Gallipoli | Album Review

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Globally-influenced indie rock staple Beirut returns. Throughout Beirut’s musical career, they have proven their consistency. What they are now is nearly identical to Gulag Orkesrar in 2006. Their pre-established sound is pure comfort. Gallipoli takes listeners on a comforting trip to the world’s far corners and rich history, fitting seamlessly into the band’s discography. 

Take the opening track, “When I Die,” for example. Echoing retro-inspired synth beats welcome listeners into the record, joined by distant Balkan horns and pounding African drums. Globally-inspired elements in this track transport listeners to a different place.

Gallipoli chronicles an Italian coastal town of the same name and transports listeners there. The dramatic brass band procession—led by priests carrying a statue of the town’s saint through the narrow streets—that inspired lead singer Zach Condon feels within reach. The delicate processional horns in “Gallipoli” and the gentle intensity of synthesizers in “Corfu” combine to make the record feel both new and old.

The only facet of Gallipoli that separates it from the rest of Beirut’s discography are the ambient-inspired tracks. Songs like “On Mainau Island” lean more on 80s-inspired synth beats that crescendo through ambient sounds, reminiscent of pounding on a table set with silverware or ticking bike spokes. The instrumental “Fin” continues the 80’s elements as distant fantastical vocal riffs flow in and out like waves on a beach.

Gallipoli welcomes listeners back to years past, all the while serenading them with Balkan horns and African drums. Back to a world before chaos, complexity, and the unknown. Gallipoli takes listeners by the hand and guides them down the narrow Italian lanes, letting them take a breath and just be for a while.

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