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Little Beirut

Fear of Heaven

(self-released; US: 27 Jun 2010; UK: Import)

On their third record, Fear of Heaven, Little Beirut continue to make fearlessly big pop songs. They’re the kind of shimmering, catchy rock band that won’t fit in at all with the faux-expansion of fuzzy chillwave, but they have a sound that’s sturdy enough to outlast that kind of movement. The way guitars churn along, only to swirl up in squalls on the bittersweet “Nadia”, the careful bed of chords on “Cigarette Girls” or the moodier atmosphere of “Lifeboat” are all signs of a confident band making guileless and exciting music. In fact, it’s hard to believe that there are only three guys making this sound because this is pop at its most lush and extra-large. Sure, despite the album’s consistency, you may find yourself waiting for a standout track or two—and, really, no one track outshines the rest—but Fear of Heaven succeeds by being a carefully composed, intricate record that never forgets the key to driving pop tunes: they need a lively pulse.

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Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.


Tagged as: little beirut
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