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Beirut’s main man Zach Condon tells Jonathan Wright how leaving New York for Berlin helped him to define the sound of his excellent new album,Gallipoli

There are good reasons why Gallipoli, Beirut’s fifth long player, is arriving more than three years after its predecessor, No No No. In part, it’s a story bound up with Beirut’s mainstay and creative force, the famously restless Zach Condon, deciding to relocate to Berlin from New York after a period when he travelled back and forth between the cities. In part, it’s just down to logistics, with the album being finished too late for an autumn release last year.

And then there was the skate park constructed in front of Condon’s home in Brooklyn. As 2017 began, the clarion call of the board became too loud to ignore, even for a man in his 30s with recording sessions on the immediate horizon. “Three months and then three months of physical therapy,” he says ruefully of a missed trick that resulted in his left arm being broken. As soon as the therapy was completed, Condon decided to move finally to Germany, yet the disruptions and delays didn’t result in him losing focus.

“One thing I’d noticed is often, if I take breaks from recording, I really lose the thread, but it didn’t feel like that,” he says. It shows. Vibrant and warm, filled with brass and woozy analogue synths, Gallipoli is an album that largely belies the dark connotations of its name. Which is probably because it’s not named for the Turkish peninsula that became a bloodbath after the Allied powers landed troops on its shores in 1915. Rather, the name came from a coastal town in Apulia, southern Italy, 40km or so from the residential Sudestudio where Condon and his cohorts, bassist Paul Collins, drummer Nick Petree and producer Gabe Wax, eventually recommenced recording in the autumn of 2017.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Long Live Vinyl - Apr 2019: Record Store Day
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