It speaks volumes about global instability when sanctuary can be found in Beirut - and guiding us through the debris of an era ravaged by war and self-gratifying foreign policy is Zach Condon with debut LP 'The Gulag Orkestar'. From the forlorn, head bowed marching of Prenziauerberg, Condon sores into an enchanting orchestral abyss like a mournful Eastern European traveller. Postcards From Italy flutters with delicate ukulele caressed by gypsy horns, whilst Bratislava is a regal stomp of vocal defiance embellished by militaristic drums and Slovak jazz. Awash with musical juxtapositions, it's an awe-invoking record of cultural beauty that has you shuddering at the thought of slapdash guitars and sloppy production. As After The Curtain fades from memory like the closure of an electronic sÃƒÂ©ance, you're left emotionally enriched and aurally educated. With the world intent on imploding, the haven of Beirut seems the most comforting place to be. [Billy Hamilton]
Gulag Orkestar' is out on November 6.
Beirut plays with Calexico and a Hawk and a Hacksaw at ABC, Glasgow on November 1.