When I played this first at work a colleague asked if this was from New Orleans. And yeah, I can’t find a better description than the following: Beirut sounds like a Roma folk band playing on a funeral in New Orleans.
I can’t remember exactly which record was the last one before this one that struck me so hard with a love at first sight. From the first moment on I was caught by the melancholy and the dripping romanticism. The clue is that this record – and I don’t know why – does not sound antiquated, anti-modern or out of time to me. Is this postmodernism? I don’t know but a Balkans folk record recorded almost by one American indie kid alone got the certain extra for a postmodernist heroic epos. Some will rant about “the return of authenticity” and “the revenge of romanticism”. Like this one record would wake up the ancient love for the mystic some say we all have in ourselves. Like this was a manifesto against the modern or post-modern age…
No, this ain’t no manifesto. This is just music that manages to take a u-turn just in time before it is slithering into kitsch. The postmodernist doublethink of being serious and at the same point of time ironic is what makes this work a) possible and b) explicitly anti-anti-modern. If I had an ipod I’d love to listen to this on my skateboard (that I’d love to be able to control but that’s another story…). One of the records of the year!