"There’s a melancholic beauty in the melodies of Zach Condon that conjure a cinematic romanticism—the kind you’d find in something contemporary like Rushmore or Amélie, but maybe more appropriately in something classically French, like Jules et Jim. And while Condon has devoted his second proper full-length release to French pop culture, there is no shortage of influence from the more eastern side of Europe. The waltz-time signatures, oompah rhythms, and torchy anthems imply something pre-Weimar Republic. It belongs to the Viennese, the Germans, and the Gypsies. Imagine a tiny village of gnomes, hell, Smurfs even, who understand the sadness of life yet join together in song because, if nothing else, they have the gift to do so, beautifully.

But just when you think it might get a little too cute or precocious—what with the accordions, brass horns, Oktoberfest organs, marching band drums, cymbal crashes, ukuleles, and even what seems to be a bouzouki—a melody rises above it all. Songs such as “A Sunday Smile” and “St. Apollonia” are sung in a high tenor that is so stunningly gorgeous and honest, it captures the sound of a brokenhearted man sitting in a café somewhere across the Atlantic, contemplating the fact that his lover has gone and won’t ever be back. “Fuck the gnomes and the Smurfs,” he may think, but it’s really time to go back to them—to stand in taverns with steins of pilsner and with voices united in self-pity, singing songs of brotherhood and understanding. And even though anyone would leave the bar in a second for another chance with the girl who just left, it’s still the sound of hearts mending…the sound of sadness and loss coupled with the knowledge that there was never any other choice but to sing it out loud."

01. A Call To Arms
02. Nantes
03. A Sunday Smile
04. Guymas Sonora
05. La Banlieue
06. Cliquot
07. The Penalty
08. Forks & Knives (La Fete)
09. In The Mausoluem
10. Un Dernier Verre (Pour La Route)
11. Cherbourg
12. St. Apollonia
13. The Flying Club Cup


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