Track Review: Beirut “A Sunday Smile”

    flying cup clubThe advance press surrounding Zach Condon’s second full length, The Flying Club Cup, has taken great pain to let us know that the songwriter has advanced past his precocious love of gypsy music and is now, like, totally into France. The sampled French voices and pseudo Parisian synth promenade at the song’s onset make the geographical relocation impossible to ignore. The end result is more or less the same though. Condon’s prematurely world weary voice is still the main draw, sounding rich and pretty as he harmonizes with himself on multiple vocal tracks. If anything’s missed from his acclaimed debut, it’s the occasional bursts of stomping authority that were demanded by the album’s Balkan tinge. Sleepy brass flourishes make sure that the sepia toned nostalgia is still intact. It’s definitely quite beautiful, if a bit naive in its romantic interpretation of lands far from home. The hazy celebration of the ex-pat life feels slightly academic, a bit disconnected from reality. I’d guess it’ll be quite a while before we get an album of Condon’s musical immersion in the sounds and culture of Nashville, Detroit, or even Albuquerque.