Gulag Orkestar

User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 46 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 44 out of 46
  2. Negative: 1 out of 46

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  1. BrianM
    Sep 24, 2006
    10
    One of my favourites of the year. "Postcards from Italy" is such a beautiful song!
  2. [Anonymous]
    Oct 23, 2006
    9
    Excellent. One of the best of 2006.
  3. JeffreyM
    Jun 1, 2006
    10
    This is one of the best albums of the year. Like Neutral Milk Hotel, it's very powerful folk with a flare for Eastern European infliences, and his voice is very welcoming for fans of Magnetic Fields.
  4. Ezra
    Jun 27, 2006
    8
    Neutral Milk Hotel comparisons are kinda ridiculous... just as he has horns... but it is a damn good album, like a quality Magnetic Fields release. His voice is kind of a mix between Stephin Merritt and Morrissey, which is understandable when you see the myspace. Buy it if you like A Hawk and a Hacksaw or Magnetic Fields and i doubt you'll be disappointed. As has been said, the Neutral Milk Hotel comparisons are kinda ridiculous... just as he has horns... but it is a damn good album, like a quality Magnetic Fields release. His voice is kind of a mix between Stephin Merritt and Morrissey, which is understandable when you see the myspace. Buy it if you like A Hawk and a Hacksaw or Magnetic Fields and i doubt you'll be disappointed. As has been said, the atmosphere is hard to come by in our rock. Expand
  5. danmac
    Jun 28, 2006
    8
    This old world sound, from this new world band gives life back to music. It's a good thing to experiment with music and an even better thing to debut with it and hit the spot. This album should open eyes if not ears.
  6. 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 that when listening to this album, images of cruising through narrow roads of Lithuania in an old LADA loop constantly inside of my head.
  7. BradE
    Jun 7, 2006
    9
    This is a very impressive and pleasing melange of sounds. Though one can hear Stephen Merritt, Jens Lekman, Nick Cave, and traditional Eastern European folkies to name a few influences, it exists wonderfully and assuredly in its own world.
  8. WillieL
    Jul 23, 2006
    9
    Clear Neutral Milk Hotel influences to be heard (the producer is in the band) but a good album all the same, very good. Postcards From Italy and Scenic World are the highlights. Hail Anti-Rock!
  9. ShanaS
    Sep 7, 2006
    10
    Beautiful music. Absolutely beautiful.
  10. ScottN
    Feb 7, 2007
    10
    FIrst listen, intrigued. Second listen, thought i made a mistake and shelved it. Third listen, I have not stopped listening to it. Unique, captivating and yet grounded in an old world. Can't add much but I never want the Cd to end....
  11. scoffc
    May 6, 2007
    10
    great and special album.
  12. Prastari
    Jul 15, 2006
    9
    I am from (South)Eastern Europe and this melancholie is so close to me.
  13. Kira
    Jul 30, 2006
    10
    amazing, amaaazing cd...the best cd of the year. I love the plethora of instruments used to create this unique sound... i love it, maybe its because of my eastern european roots..
  14. seant
    Jul 6, 2006
    6
    decent but way overhyped
  15. Jason
    Aug 10, 2006
    9
    Excellent debut, employing varied styles and instrumentation. If you like the Eastern European tracks, check out the Harmonia Ensemble.
  16. RG
    Jan 14, 2007
    8
    great debut. a drunken party somewhere between the balkans and ireland and a really cool song that could belong in the life aquatic. postcards from italy def the center of the album. very grand feeling to the album and his voice works like an instruement. they can def put on a show, saw them in dc in a really small place.
  17. HenryJR
    Feb 5, 2007
    10
    Incredible. I have a lot of experience with balkan music and this is a genuine but original synthesis of the style into the pop format.
  18. PatB.
    Jun 16, 2007
    10
    Best album of 2006
  19. BurlescoP.
    Jul 14, 2007
    10
    Travelling to another world.
  20. JadH
    Dec 7, 2006
    10
    Great CD ... extremely unique. They're awesome live too
  21. joshm
    Jun 12, 2006
    9
    just got this album today in the mail... its pretty awesome, nothing like most "indie' rock.
  22. MichaelS
    Jun 18, 2006
    10
    Stands out from the crowd, loving it!
  23. 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. 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.
  24. 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 perfectly captures the spirit of the style he's emulating without being a slave to authenticity. Genius.
  25. Nov 1, 2011
    7
    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 braveIt'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
  26. 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'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.
Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. An outstanding debut album, and easily one of my favorite releases of the year so far.
  2. So, yes: this is cuddly, warm and intimate, just like all your favorite blogs have said.
  3. 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.