February 11, 2009

Beirut - March of the Zapotec & Realpeople: Holland EP (2009)

There are two kinds of people in this world: Those that hear Beirut and say: “AwwYeah, I pinche love Beirut.” And those who say: “What the hell is this? Put Radiohead back on!” Well, perhaps its not that simplistic, but I don’t think the classifications are that far off. Zachary Condon, the young man that is the brainchild of Beirut, brings another set, or dual sets depending on how you choose to view the two-part EP, of uniquely eclectic and convivial tracks which consistently sounds like music from another era, and another land... such is March of the Zapotec. Omm-pa-pa. Omm-pa-pa. Omm-pa-pa. As we all know the Zapotecs are “a historical indigenous pre-Columbian civilization and archaeological culture of central Mexico.” What this has to do with the music on the EP, I have no idea. Like much of Beirut’s music, the sound falls somewhere in the mix of a Sicilian funeral procession ("The Shrew"), a gypsy circus band ("El Zocalo" and "La Llorona"), and the local band-geeks (I mean that in the endearing, “you will always be able to perform better music than I” sorta way) that play on Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz each holiday season for a little extra cash. March of the Zapotec (Part I) captures that sound that is so traditional that it is entirely nontraditional to be in so many non-traditionalist’s music collections. Condon achieves this nearly inexplicable feat with waves of horns, drums, symbols, accordion, strings, and who knows what else, to support his remarkably charming voice that hovers over the ensemble. The Realpeople: Holland (Part II) portion of the EP, with the exception of the excellent, accordion heavy track “The Concubine,” brings an electronic twist to the Beirut sound. This group of tracks is a little strange, especially “My Wife, Lost in the Wild,” but after a few listens, Beirut with a beat (check out the lyricless and dancable “No Dice”) grew on me. In short: more of the same, something a little different, but altogether, quite good.

For a taste of the Beirut style, check out this lil vid of the song “Nantes” off of The Flying Club Cup...