The multi-faceted world of music is now, more than ever, in an era of experimental genres and artists. Within the past years, indie rock has made an amazing leap into the world of mainstream music. Santa Fe-based band Beirut has once again shown how folk rock can inspire with their upcoming album No No No set to drop Sept. 11.
Famous for their mellow but fantastical tune “Santa Fe,” the band has come back swinging with a record full of inspired sounds. According to lead man Zach Condon, the album was inspired by a series of ups and downs in his life, leading to a new perspective on his music.
Condon said that he was inspired by an emotional year and a difficult divorce, through which he experienced an array of feelings and troubles. After having a breakdown in Australia, he went through a period of mourning and healing through a new relationship. Condon said he also struggled with extensive writer’s block, creating and scrapping many songs before reaching the final product that is the much-awaited fourth album No No No. These experiences have culminated in a final product full of honest emotion and an innovative take on the band’s classic style.
The album’s leading track, “No No No,” is a mixture of upbeat piano and dynamic synthesizers backing up lead vocals. With lyrics like “Don’t know the first thing about who you are / My heart is waiting, taken in from the start / If we don’t go now, we won’t get very far,” the song paints a picture of confused and tentative love, a topic of relevance and inspiration to any listener.
Behind the brass instruments and cheery piano, the band really plays with the melodies and harmonies, especially on songs like “Gibraltar” that feature claps, shakers and a diversity of sonic light. As Condon sings, “Everything should be fine / You’ll find things tend to stand in line / It’s but a link in time / But I’m sure you’ll let me try,” his lyrics are punctuated by the rhythmic accompaniment. One particular song on the record, “Perth” is a direct nod to Condon’s healing process in Australia during the production of the album.
Each one of the songs is organic, a product of a singularly definitive point in the artist’s life. The instrument, lyrics and vocals are all exhilarating and haunting. Condon’s eerie and smoky voice still hasn’t changed and carries the album through its vibrant melodies.
Despite the heavy influence behind the new album, the band continues to make light of their success. Their punchy melodies and cheery personalities make for one brilliant combination of gravity and excitement.
So far, the new record has been critically well-received. Performances like the one on Late Night with Seth Meyers have tested the new album on their expected audiences with positive results. The record is even rated a full five stars for pre-order on iTunes. Commercially, the band has also posted their first two official music videos on YouTube. “No No No” and “Gibraltar” both have almost 2 million views in just two weeks.
The new album demonstrates the change of inspiration through new sounds and movements by the band. Experimentation with instruments and Beirut’s signature vintage sound lead to an array of tracks perfect for any occasion. This album could mark not only a significant personal success for the band, but also a gateway for its reinvention within the popular scene. No matter what the struggles the band has experienced in the past year, Beirut has come back kicking. With a vibrant, revamped and new sound as well as a plethora of inspired lyrics, the band has shown that four years off the music scene does not deter them. A musical reinvention has never looked as good as Beirut’s highly anticipated No No No.