The NME office is currently being lulled by Beirut's new double EP, 'March Of The Zapotec/Holland', due out in February. It's remarkable how Zach Condon can weave such a mesmerising spell, given that he possesses one of the most profoundly, unfathomably odd voices in music.


Squint your ears and there are shades of Thom Yorke's floppy-jawed, resonant vibrato-croon. But there's something else at work, a weirdly archaic quality that summons images of ancient mariners and infinite, empty, rolling seascapes.

It's proof that having an unusual, untutored voice is no bar to creating extraordinary music. Here are a few more vocal eccentrics.

8. Antony Hegarty
Like the phantom of some tragic chanteuse, old wobble-voice sounds permanently on the edge of tears – a quality that took on a thrilling intensity when combined with thrumming disco on Hercules & Love Affair's 'Blind'.

7. Jello Biafra
Post-The Mighty Boosh, it's difficult to listen to the Dead Kennedys man's wildly oscillating baritone without thinking of 'Nanageddon'.

6. Joanna Newsom
Emitting weapons-grade levels of kook, the cult harpist's kittenish squawk is either winningly idiosyncratic or wince-inducingly mannered, depending on your point of view.

5. Geddy Lee
"How did it get so high? I wonder if he speaks like an ordinary guy?" pondered Pavement's Stephen Malkmus on 'Stereo', marvelling at the Rush frontman's preternaturally high-pitched voice.

4. Stuart Staples
Like an undertaker trying to swallow a gym mat, the lugubrious Tindersticks man's indecipherable mumble brings an element of the Viv Reeves 'club style' to his band's stately, velveteen jazz-waltzes.

3. Alec Ounsworth
The definition of 'acquired taste', listening to the Clap Your Hands Say Yeah frontman's shrill, hiccupping tenor can sometimes feel like being hectored by a teenage boy in the throes of puberty.

2. Morrissey
There's a reason why Smiths covers rarely work – namely, that few singers can approximate Moz's utterly distinctive, adenoidal vocal style. Tellingly, Jeff Buckley was a big fan.

1. Gary Numan
Like David Bowie crossed with a trapped boy, Numan's weirdly terror-stricken voice is still one of pop's strangest, most unsettling sounds.

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