Beirut sounds like a whimsical Balkan carnival and their previous two studio albums are filled with ingenious songs that make everything seem well in life. An intense listen to either Gulag Orkestar or The Flying Club Cup often makes me want to drop everything in life and just jump on the first Eurostar to Paris, before embarking on some carefree journeying across eastern Europe. And imagine what such a trip would consist of? Grumpy old men in flat caps regaling stories of the war, beautiful Italian goddesses toiling on farms and covered in mud, Mediterranean towns who all come together for a feast in the town centre, accordion players bustling through German markets and Romani women telling your fortune as you wonder along with their travelling wagon trails. Well, at least that's what I assume Zach Condon has been doing over the past few years of his life and it's the romanticised impressions of simple European life that his music inspires that I have to blame for it.
This album is nowhere near as monumental as any previous full-length by Beirut, but the fact it's a live album and only contains two songs from those former releases means it's crammed with new tunes I'd never heard before. The two highlights for me were The Concubine and My Night With a Prostitute from Marseille. They instantly struck me as brilliant and did little to dispel my idea that Zach lives in a constant state of reminiscence about his time in Europe, and that he can conjure up a song expressing his memories at the drop of a hat. He's an extremely talented musician, and a sickeningly young one at that. Here's to another 50 years of brass-based brilliance.