Little Beirut – Fear of Heaven
September 4, 2010
This is the third release by the Portland-based band. With a mix of indie-pop and rock & roll they make accessible yet layered music. They weave strong melodies with, for the most part, inviting lyrics. The band seems to draw heavily on influences from the late 70s – mid 80s.
Little Beirut has a full and rich indie-pop sound and with those big melodies and with their confident attitude they are able to present a convincing album. They range between uptempo energy and massive ballads. They hold on tight to the ‘indie’ side of the genre but almost all the songs have a supreme pop sensibility. It’s not radio pop, but alternative radio would eat out of their hands.
The first couple of tracks are solid, good even, but the first memorable track is True Swords. At first I just thought it was pleasant, but the build up and sound (slightly reminiscent of The Smiths) draws you in bit by bit. It is followed up by the catchy Cigarette Girls, which would make one heck of a radio single.
Other outstanding songs are Lifeboat (check the harmonies!) and closer Crooked Crown, which is a great example of what melodical indie-pop can sound like. Little Beirut shows they have the talent and the guts to do what they do without the use of all kinds of studio production, sound enhancing, etc. etc. They stick to the music and the songs benefit from it.
“Fear of Heaven” is a solid album. It’s a good album that deserves notice. But that is just the thing. While it is good, I don’t know if it stands out enough to get that recognition. The indie-pop genre has been growing massively over the past decade and it’s hard for bands to really stand out among their peers. With the quality and confidence Little Beirut shows, they may have a shot to really break through, but I’m not so sure the sound of the album is unique enough to reach that big break. In the meantime, however, those who did come across Little Beirut have another album to add to their collection.