Today’s Song: Beirut Delivers a Tense, Expansive Musical Journey with “Landslide”

Beirut © Olga Baczynska
Beirut © Olga Baczynska
With Zach Condon’s signature vocal flair and onrushes of layered percussion, “Landslide” produces a sound that is larger than life, giving listeners a sense that adventure is mere steps away.

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Beirut are no strangers to visceral, moving pieces that are unlike any other music out there. They made a sound that is uniquely theirs through the use of European folk styles, soaring brass melodies, and whimsical playing of a Farfisa organ. As time went on, their sound evolved, but with their latest single, “Landslide,” nostalgia hits listeners instantly.

Listen: “Landslide” – Beirut

Landslide - Beirut
Landslide – Beirut

“Landslide” is the third single off of Beirut’s upcoming 5th album, Gallipoli, and with each new track they release, the more evident their musical evolution becomes. The single boasts roaring rhythms of the organ that give it a touch of what listeners heard with Beirut’s earlier albums like Gulag Orkestar. Surround that by bright and uplifting harmonies – like ones from No No No – and what is created is a gorgeous combination of new and old, showcasing a maturation of sound that one would be hard-pressed not to have chills when listening to.

There’s a landslide back home
Pity I can’t hold on
I should really behold
My world washed clear by stone
Beirut © Drew Reynolds
Beirut © Drew Reynolds

An instrumental opening of staccato beats set the tone and readies Codon for a grand entrance. Within the first few lyrics sung, listeners are told a tale of defeat, juxtaposing the lively and upbeat melodies from before. As the track continues, vocals in the foreground are layered onto Codon’s, giving it a fresh dynamic that adds a much larger sound through small details. It’s almost medieval in its presentation, and the accompanying music video takes that vibe and goes full force.

There’s a landslide back home
Only when I’m alone
Could we ever have known
How the roads would return?

Director Eoin Glaister grabbed that medieval feeling and brought it to life. The video opens with a lone, defeated knight dusting himself off as his horse finishes dragging him away. As the knight endures the taunting from the horse, he eventually spots a black knight, giving viewers the impression of a fierce rivalry. Before they can meet, a key leads the lone knight to a trapped woman, but soon the black knight rushes in for a duel. Towards the end, an unexpected outcome occurs, leaving the knight alone, fighting for something he had already lost.

There’s a landslide back home
Now a catacomb
And I lay on the stone
And it keeps my heart warm
If you ever return
In a wonderful form
Don’t you wait out the storm
Just pull roots and move on
Beirut © 2019
Beirut © 2019

After four years of silence, “Landslide” proves it was all worth it. It’s a natural continuation, almost as if it’s nothing more than a friend continuing a story from where they left off. The track excels at instilling peace despite the bustling melodies, allowing it to accomplish multiple styles with utter ease. Gallipoli releases February 1st via 4AD, and we at Atwood Magazine are eagerly awaiting that first full listen.

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:: purchase Gallipoli here ::

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? © Olga Baczynska

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