24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Bigger Sound Equally Beguiling,
This review is from: The Flying Club Cup (Audio CD)
During the summer Zach Condon (who is, essentially Beruit) discussed his forthcoming album saying it was, interesting how having the band was making a difference to the sound, that he was collaborating with someone who would provide string arrangements, and it was going to have a French feel about it. After the somewhat remarkable "Gulag Orkestra" this seemed an intriguing proposition.
Autum sees the release of the album and it is bigger sounding, imbued with strings, and at times steeped in French chanson. The fact that this is now a band is the most striking development. Where as Condon's debut had a somewhat homespun low-fi feel about it "The Flying Club Cup" has bigger, richer textures. Brass and strings rub shoulders with each other creating something deeper and warmer. The French influences give the album some sharp focus and the influence seems to have sharpened the writing which seems to have managed the difficult feat of improving still on what was a very solid foundation.
This is still, for all its exotic louchness, an album I would happily describe as an indie record. It is definately not world music as Condon takes the basic approaches and then builds his own sound around that. It may offend the world music purists in the approach but it's exactly what upset them last time around. The make or break of this album is the vocals, layered much more confident this time around they are definately something which may well make falling in love with this album difficult for some.
Yet there is much to love here, be it the rolling waltzes of "Cliquot", "Un Dernier Verre", or the title track, or the fact there is still a dash or the Balkan folk which dominated the first album. The neat arrangements, subtle strings and the vocals - at times sounding like a chior of Condons - make this a compelling if different listen. If you like the sonic ambitions of Arcade Fire, the warmth of Sufjan Stevens, and the richness of The Magnetic Fields then this album might well be just what you're looking for.
With so many artists faced with second album expectations rising into the stratosphere, it is nice to find someone who has managed to get their sophomore effort not only out quickly but with something which really builds on the promise shown. It's beguiling and beautiful, with a touch of the exotic about it. There are some great songs here too. Like Paris, the place which inspired so much of it, this is, for some, easy to fall in love with.