Gulag Orkestar Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 41 Ratings

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  • Summary: This Eastern European-sounding, multi-instrumental effort is actually the work of Albuquerque teenager Zach Condon. Members of A Hawk And A Hacksaw also lend a hand.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. It's tightly focused, beautifully written, and totally without filler.
  2. Beirut’s brilliant debut album is full of grandeur and intimacy, with accordions, ukuleles and brass instruments complementing contemporary notions like drum machines and digestible song structures while simultaneously channeling the ancient appeal of Balkan folk music.
  3. An outstanding debut album, and easily one of my favorite releases of the year so far.
  4. Right off the bat, you realize this is serious music for serious listeners.
  5. Time and again, the most powerful element of Gulag Orkestar, and what ought to be emphasized, is Condon's acrobatic, powerful, emotionally nuanced voice.
  6. It's not without fault; too many songs and too little variation between the tracks detract from unequivocal enjoyment. Much more of an album to admire, rather than cherish.
  7. The 11 tracks of Gulag Orkestar are very good, but not the stunning achievement you might be led to believe they are.

See all 22 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 26
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 26
  3. Negative: 1 out of 26
  1. Aug 2, 2014
    Uplifting most of the time, with a pinch of depression, nostalgia and rejoice. With clear, pure, sensitive and deep instruments and Zach's exhilarating and emotional voice. Much more than 11 tracks: almost 40 minutes of an exquisite feeling... travelling back to a traditional Balkan party where everything feels, breathes hope and celebration. To describe it in a word, this album is sublime. Expand
  2. Nov 1, 2011
    It's hard not to appreciate this album. Although I do think it is overrated - it's not the type of album that I could ever call a classic and the style of it wouldn't be everyones cup of tea, but it is one of the more original albums I've heard over the last few years. I'd nearly guarantee that it's very different to most of the rest of your record collection and it does try some brave ideas on it, however not all of them are brilliant. Expand

See all 26 User Reviews