Music Review

Gulag Orkestar (2006)

EW's GRADE
B+

Details Release Date: May 09, 2006; Lead Performance: Beirut; Genre: Indie Rock

How can this dense slice of exotic musical bohemia spring from the mind of a 19-year-old kid from New Mexico? Beirut's Zach Condon's startlingly accomplished debut album, Gulag Orkestar is far more redolent of 1920s Bucharest than modern-day Albuquerque, with its mournful accordion, funereally paced percussion, and ululating vocals; Condon's voice swoops and warbles like a Gypsy-caravan Morrissey, as if the young lad were actually standing in the wood-smoke air and cobblestone streets of the faraway and long-ago cities he sings of. B+

Originally posted May 26, 2006 Published in issue #879 Jun 02, 2006 Order article reprints