Gulag Orkestar Image
Metascore
80

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

User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 42 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
    10
    Uplifting most of the time, with a pinch of depression, nostalgia and rejoice. With clear, pure, sensitive and deep instruments and Zach'sUplifting 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. JoeE
    Dec 29, 2006
    10
    Hearing this rich and brilliant album and then reading about Condon's age has made me reevaluate the past few years of my life. . . He Hearing this rich and brilliant album and then reading about Condon's age has made me reevaluate the past few years of my life. . . He perfectly captures the spirit of the style he's emulating without being a slave to authenticity. Genius. Expand
  3. scoffc
    May 6, 2007
    10
    great and special album.
  4. TomZ
    Jun 7, 2006
    9
    It is nearly impossible for only one man to create great folk music, yet Zach Condon manages to capture the spirit of eastern block so well It is nearly impossible for only one man to create great folk music, yet Zach Condon manages to capture the spirit of eastern block so well that when listening to this album, images of cruising through narrow roads of Lithuania in an old LADA loop constantly inside of my head. Expand
  5. [Anonymous]
    Oct 23, 2006
    9
    Excellent. One of the best of 2006.
  6. Prastari
    Jul 15, 2006
    9
    I am from (South)Eastern Europe and this melancholie is so close to me.
  7. Cat
    Sep 25, 2006
    3
    Very disappointing. The songs are all a muddle of homogeneous instrumentation, and it's very difficult to discern what he's saying. Very disappointing. The songs are all a muddle of homogeneous instrumentation, and it's very difficult to discern what he's saying. I like Neutral Milk Hotel, but I don't want all the songs to sound like "The Fool." This just didn't mesh with my tastes at all. Expand

See all 26 User Reviews