Not quite catchy but undeniably unique.

Beirut is not so much a band with a large membership as a name for a one-man musical project. Zach Condon is the person behind the music, and despite only being 21 has already released several albums; although as yet only one - 'Gulag Orkestar' under his current pseudonym. 'Elephant Gun', this latest single release features two exclusive B-sides and is available on 7" vinyl or as a digital download. Although Cordon was born and raised in New Mexico, USA the music he produces as Beirut is heavily influenced by traditional Eastern European and folk music.

'Elephant Gun' introduces the listener to Beirut's sound in a cloud of layered instruments and smooth vocals that sound not dissimilar to that of Rufus Wainwright. Intricate percussion and brass instruments occupy the limelight as the track sways along in a manner that is not quite catchy but undeniably unique, fading out after around four minutes only to resurrect itself in an instrumental section that sounds more French that Eastern European.

B side 'Transatlantique' is characterized by plucked instruments and the same rich vocals that are 'Elephant Gun's strongest point; like its predecessor it is largely an instrumental track - listeners who like their music to be constantly accompanied by lyrics may not find Beirut's offerings to their taste. Closing track 'Le Moribund' is a cover of a Jacques Brel and unsurprisingly very French sounding, although it does not sound out of place in this collection of songs.

It is undeniable that Beirut is bringing something new to the music scene and certainly not tripping out the same tired music cliches; however whether or not this music has wide appeal is considerably more arguable. There is a tinge of falseness to and something rather pretentious about music so European-sounding that is produced by an American; and listeners are thus likely to fall into three categories - those that love Zach Cordon's inventiveness, those who find him pretentious, and those who understand and appreciate what he is trying to do, yet find it all rather samey.