SuperHeavy is aptly named. In an age of collaboration and reinventing art — of Banksy and Lady Gaga — well, it takes something pretty outrageous to turn heads. And this just might strain your neck. Mick Jagger got his swagger back, and in the official video for “Miracle Worker,” he’s wearing the hell out of a hot pink suit: It’s like Tom Waits met Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
But the group is more than Jagger; it’s also Joss Stone, Dave Stewart (of the Eurythmics), Damian Marley and A.R. Rahman. So, rocking-reggae-Indian mishmash. Yeah, it’ll make you want to dance — and maybe move down to Jamaica, drink cocktails, buy that pink suit and leave all the rest behind. And at the end of the week, when you know for sure that we’re all working ourselves to death, you need rejuvenation — some kind of momentary vacation.
This collection of eclectic people and sounds — steeped in musical history — comes together in a way that you might not expect to love. But you do.
The Rip Tide
It’s rare that a band puts out an album that is both its most accessible and its best. But three albums into his Beirut project, Zach Condon has put out a record that manages to expand on the Beirut sound while preserving the impossibly catchy melodies for which it's become known.
Condon’s robust voice isn't for everyone, but his songwriting and arranging ought to be. Tubas, coronets, harmoniums: These are the tricks of Beirut’s trade, but a pop sensibility overwhelms any marching-band tendencies.
It’s a warm album, fueled by domesticity. “Santa Fe” is a song penned by a man who knows that city’s outdoor cafes, antique warehouses and barrios. “Whatever comes through the door — see it face to face,” Condon’s multi-tracked voice sings. “Your days in one… all day at once.” The melody is an earworm-par-excellence.
“East Harlem” is a slow-motion El Camino ride through the borough; “Goshen,” a piano-backed lament of a musician on the road. You can hear Condon pressing the old pedals, sustaining the sound in a big room — an empty room. And we’re all listening. Or at least we should be.
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