ALBUM REVIEW: Beirut Stays Beautiful but Tame on ‘Gallipoli’

A solid entry that could have been an EP.

There’s a lot to enjoy about Beirut’s fifth album, Gallipoli. For longtime fans of the band’s nostalgic baroque pop, opener “When I Die,” followed by the excellent title track, are complete with their building melodies, catchy horn lines and Zach Condon’s rich voice. They’re unquestionably Beirut.⠀

Beirut albums have always had their peaks and valleys of energy and melody, but the relative acoustic tameness of Gallipoli makes the valleys more noticeable, and almost questionable. Instrumental “On Mainau Island,” for example, hardly evolves across its 2-plus minute length. Cut it by a minute and it would still serve its purpose. Cosmic closer “Fin,” meanwhile, sounds almost separate from the rest of the album entirely. ⠀

Nevertheless, tameness doesn’t equal a dip in quality. “I Giardini,” absence of horns, works simply because Condon’s voice is so powerful. Second-half highlight “Landslide” accomplishes this to even greater effect, complete with the perfect cut at 3:30. It’s the best example of what works on this album: organs, horns and Condon’s self-harmonization building over melancholy lyrics.⠀

Gallipoli is a solid entry in the band’s discography. Yet it’s hard to shake the thought that, rather than a full album, we could have gotten an EP and been just as satisfied. The peaks are plenty enough.⠀

Score: 🦁🦁🦁/5

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