A nice starter, but where's the main?
'No, No, No'

Beirut (or indeed main man Zach Condon) is gifted with an instantly recognisable sound. This in some camps can draw criticism, but can also reward one with legions of fans, and so has been the case with this luck chap from the age of 18. 'No, No, No', the group's fourth effort, continues the band's easy romanticism but falls far too light on the plate to make a meaty meal.

With only nine tracks to its name, and with two of those under the three-minute mark, the band had better make sure the tracks they've provided are stone cold classics. Sadly there's filler here and even a prolonged sense of jams never quite finished due to the unfortunate decision to 'strip back' the production.

Things get off to a sprightly start with 'Gibraltar', all soulful keys, light touch drumming and catchy vocal. It's a fantastic beginning that leads into the titular single and album highlight. It is one Condon's most confessional yet addictive numbers and will no doubt go down a storm live. An entire album with the same burst of energy would've been a wonder.

'At Once' is plain frustrating, a slow builder that never evolves, the beginning of something promising that the band seemingly forget in order to go make a cuppa. 'Perth' returns the perky atmosphere with an organ line nearly funky in nature. As for the following 'Pacheo' it sounds tonally too close for comfort to 'At Once' to make a real impact, causing the two tracks to almost blend. 'Fener' helps the album find its footing once more, some charming vocal harmonies and a cheeky little synth breakdown lifting the track into something noteworthy - but by now you've lost patience.

The arrival of debut 'Gulag Orkestar' in 2006 caused waves due to the sheer uniqueness of Beirut's sound, and here you begin to wish it'd evolve somewhat. 'No, No, No' is as sweet but as filling as an after dinner mint, and sadly it's probably dinner this album should accompany.


Words: Sam Walker-Smart

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