My love affair with Beirut started right before The Rip Tide (2011) was released, when I saw them at the Grove stage at Lollapalooza – I believe they were competing against Eminem for festival goer’s attention – so it is easy to say that their fourth studio album No No No has been long anticipated. This indie-rock world fusion group that was founded by Zach Condon in 2006 never seems to disappoint. Although No No No is considerably different, more subtle and laid back than the full frontal more orchestral songs fans got used to in March of the Zapotec (2008) or even The Rip Tide. It is the retelling of adventures to friends, and the new adventures of back home.
This album is for sitting on your front porch with old friends, enjoying the afternoon dipping into evening. A surprising lack of accordion in the entire album is made up for by the closeness of the vocals and the home like vibe from the piano. The album kicks off with a bongo into that go lucky piano layers on top of on “Gibralter” that immediately sets the tone for No No No. This is an album that warms you up from the inside out. It is an album of joy, and if it doesn’t make you smile you need to listen it again but louder. The next track is the lead single and title track, which sounds the most like typical Beirut than anything on the album.
Uke layers on top of strings on the intro to “As Needed” creating an air of growing passion that breaks away into melodically minor piano with hovering strings. It is an instrumental ebb and flow of intensity. Upon first listen “Perth” is the stand out track, if there is such a thing on such a thoroughly enjoyable album. The horns on the track are inviting you to join in the festivities with the vocals.
“Fener” is an up-tempo track with a mid-song breakdown that contains intricate vocal layering that simply grooves. Unlike many of Beirut’s past compositions and albums No No No seems set more firmly in the 4/4 time signature, not drifting into a dense waltz as Condon tends to do. It simply breathes and is worth the listen.
The track list is as follows:
- No No No
- At Once
- August Holland
- As Needed
- So Allowed