by Ginevra Rollo
Zach Codon and his band proposed nothing different or unfamiliar with the release of their new album, and that’s perhaps amongst the reasons for its success. Released on the 1st of February, Beirut’s fifth studio album Gallipoli remains entirely congruent with the group’s trademark dream-like atmosphere. Every single element encompasses Beirut’s indie aesthetic: the elegant amalgamation of brass instruments, the distinct hazy aura surrounding each song, and the penchant for exotic cities as titles. While Gallipoli maintains absolute consistency throughout, the introduction of the organ confers more intensity to it, without, however, weighing it down. Recorded between New York, Berlin and the Southern Italian region of Apulia – the latter suggesting the inspiration for the album’s title – Gallipoli conveys the rush and excitement of travelling to distant places.
Codon’s minimal yet sufficient lyrics and his smooth, velvety voice are the perfect contrast to the jubilant fanfare of the tracks, an appropriate narration amid the melodies. Among the most noteworthy tracks on the album is ‘Landslide’, a tune for new beginnings with ready-made, indie-movie worthy lyrics: “Don't you wait out the storm / Just pull roots and move on”. Furthermore, honourable mention goes to “Gallipoli”. Once again, Codon keeps his lyrics to the bare minimum, appointing the instruments as the true narrators – they start slow, then rising and rising, and finally culminating in a graceful harmony of brass only to slow down again. Perhaps the least powerful track of the album is “Mainau Island” – an overly electronic and harsh track, jarring like the effect of a rusty needle in a silky tapestry.
Those not fully enamoured with Beirut in the past will most probably not change their mind with Gallipoli, as it remains stylistically similar to the other albums; it will however be savoured by its older fans, who have patiently waited four years for a new release. Overall, while Gallipoli is best enjoyed with headphones, it sounds just as good played in the background as ambient music with its blend of peaceful and upbeat accents giving it a sun soaked quality. The perfect soundtrack for road trips and lazy summer days, Gallipoli is both the journey and the return home for Beirut.