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Little Beirut: Fear Of Heaven

While doing a little research on Portland Oregon band Little Beirut (the band name comes from a phrase that George HW Bush used to describe Portland to his son), I came across a quote from the band's bassist John Hulcher (although he appears not to feature on this album) that says "Little Beirut: Not weirding you out since 2005.", which I suppose sums up the uncomplicated pop rock that this band purvey perfectly.

Little Beirut's third album, Fear Of Heaven opens with distorted thumping and a clockwork tick that introduces "Last Light", before Little Beirut's singer Hamilton Sims unveils his quirky yet seductive tones and a gloriously insistent guitar line plucks out a melody that will be playfully gnawing at your consciousness for the rest of the day. For the chorus a fuzzed up riff raises the tempo just a tad to create a razor sharp hook that has you groovin' along before you notice your foot tapping out the beat. I could almost stop the review right here, not because it is all down-hill, but because the words I've used to describe this opening track just keep cropping up again and again as the disc whirls round in the player. "Seductive", "Melody", "Sharp hook", "Groovin'" this album does them all in abundance, but the clever trait that Little Beirut have is that they know how to present them in a manner of different ways.

"Nadia" is smooth and bright, with its cymbal rhythm carrying you along for the ride, "Apology To My Heart" has sparsely arranged gentle atmospherics, "Bow And Quiver" marches along all hand claps and gentle retro-pop nods, while "Tallulah, How Long" shows a more melancholic, subtle and mature side to the band, and we are only just dipping our heads under the water at this stage to see how big this musical iceberg really is. We haven't even touched on the summery sounds, but heartfelt lyrics of "No One Special", or the crowning glory that is "True Swords" where Springsteen meets The Pineapple Thief in a dreamy sprawling country like vibe.

The lyrics are smart yet singalongable, Sims vocals have a casual authority and the guitars, bass and keys of Edwin Paroissien are punctuated beautifully by Alex Inman's drumming, which all comes together to make an excellent album.

Track Listing
1. Last Night
2. Cosmic Waitress
3. Nadia
4. Apology to the Heart
5. Bow and Quiver
6. True Swords
7. Cigarette Girls
8. Tullalah, How Long
9. Armageddon Ring
10. Lifeboat
11. No One Special
12. Crooked Crown

Added: September 4th 2010
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Little Beirut Official Site
Hits: 1924
Language: english

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