Oct 11, 2007

The Flying Club Cup-Beirut

Elegantly luxurious. Luxuriously elegant. Rich and beautiful. Beautiful and rich. Music of another era. Music for today. "The Flying Club Cup" (try saying that 3 times quickly) is like lying on a thick shag pile carpet whilst someone (hopefully the love of your life) feeds you strawberries dipped in chocolate. The second album from Beirut is rich in taste, full of warmth and deliciously effulgent. Whilst "Gulag Orkestar" was a trip through the Balkans "The Flying Club Cup" is a journey through France circa 1910. But fear not, for this is no dusty period piece. Maybe the boy wonder, Zach Condon can describe it best.

"I was listening to a lot of Jacques Brel and French chanson music-- pop songs shrouded in big, glorious, over-the-top arrangements and all this drama-- and that was in some sense unfamiliar territory to me. So I started buying new instruments and relying on things I wasn't necessarily comfortable with, like French horns and euphoniums, carrying these big, epic big brass parts that I used to do all on trumpets, and working with accordion and organ instead of all ukulele-- very much throwing myself in the world of classical pop music, I guess you could say."

The effort is definitely worthwhile, the arrangements on this record are quite superb. Lush and resplendent, displaying the writers' intent. For each song to evoke a different French City. There is a veritable orchestra of instruments on display here. Strings of every variety and horns of every sort, plus mandolins and organs and bouzoukis and many I have forgotten. On mostly every track Owen Pallett of Final Fantasy adds his exquisite Violin playing. He even takes the vocals on my standout song "Cliquot", august and triumphant. There are plenty of other great songs to sink into. There is just an effortless flow to the music here. "Nantes" will give you a good start with its vibrating rhythms and "A Sunday Smile" is effortlessly graceful. One song that is stoking my fire is "Guymas Sonora". It makes you feel like grabbing your partner and waltzing across the floor with a smile on your face and a hop in your step. Actually the whole album is perfect for slow dancing or just reclining on your favourite sitting chair. Other highlights are the sumptuous "The Penalty", the mournful "In the Mausoleum", the deep sighs of "Cherbourg" and the delightfully wicked title track to finish the suite off superbly. This is an album to savour, swaying with a glass of red wine in your hand. This music is not life changing, but it is definitely life affirming.

MP3: A Sunday Smile


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