Beirut are hugely popular with hipsters and college kids. Whichever record exec focus-grouped the idea and found out that brass band waltzes and ukuleles were what the youngsters wanted deserves a raise.
You can check out the songs at flyingclubcup.com where the all the songs are performed in various locations (in an abandoned house, on the river bank, on the street) to great advantage.
Beirut are responsible for turning loads of people on to the ukulele and my Beirut posts are some of the most popular on the blog. So if you buy this for your uke playing loved one, be sure to give them the url of this blog too.
Whoever said, “They don’t write ‘em like the used to,” obviously hasn’t heard Craig Robertson. His songs have a classic, timeless feel to them and could have been written yesterday or ninety years ago. They’re full of dark and sinister ne’er-do-wells.
If you’re not drinking whiskey and smoking when you start listening to this album, you will be by the end of it.
The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain seem to be popular with just about everyone. They’re a viral YouTube smash; writer Howard Jacobson called them, “the best musical entertainment in the country”; George Harrison wanted to jam with them; they’ve appeared on kids TV a number of times and Brian Eno said that they, “may well turn out to be one of the turning points of 21st Century Art.” I think that’s a fair demographic reach.
Personally, I could happily go without the covers of Nirvana and the like that seem to have made them popular. I find them much more impressive when they’re being musical rather than ironic.