Beirut, The Flying Club Cup

Beirut frontman Zach Condon, 21, is too young to have any stories of his own, so he imagines other folks' — usually folks living on other continents in other centuries. On "The Penalty," he speaks from the perspective of a worker caught in a time of plague: "Yesterday fever, tomorrow St. Peter, I'll beat on my drum until then. What melody will lead my lover from his bed? What melody will see him in my arms again?" Narrative conjecture such as this doesn't have much to offer, but Beirut's lush orchestrations do, and The Flying Club Cup follows in predecessor Gulag Orkestar's brass-heavy, enchanting wake. Where Gulag invoked a rollicking, marching band sound and was blanketed with an accordion-heavy Eastern European influence, Cup invokes the more delicate French chanson music, accented by nylon-string guitar. Thankfully, Condon's Magnetic Fields and Neutral Milk Hotel influences aren't as strong here, but otherwise Cup is as musically dynamic and lyrically anemic as Gulag. Condon's main problem seems to be success at a young age; his stories don't offer the substantive sorrow his melodies deserve.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ben Westhoff
Contact: Ben Westhoff