Thursday, July 23, 2009


March of the Zapotec/Holland-
Label-Ba Da Bing Records
Status-Out as of 2009
Rating-4 Feathers

Prominently known for the use of ukuleles, accordions, and euphoniums, Beirut has one of the most distinctive sounds in indie music today. After two largely successful releases (Gulag Orkestar, The Flying Club Cup), each characterized by their epic brassy parts, Zach Condon and Co. have decided it’s time for a change: March of the Zapotec/Holland is that change.

The March of the Zapotec half of this double EP is a continuation of what Beirut has come to stand for, with a little Mexican flair. Songs like ‘The Akara’ feature the basic ukulele and brassy arrangements, but with the drums beating to a very ethnic Mexican rhythm. Though the other song each bring something to the side, ‘The Shrew’ sticks out like an elephant among beavers. It’s a bright waltz that quickly builds up into a magnificent fanfare of sorts, and after the glory coolly returns to the original theme.

The Holland half, with Zach Condon using the pseudonym Realpeople, consists of a large departure from their sound to happy little electronica. Though kind of confused by the title, ‘My Night with the Prostitute from Marseille’ is the best song hands down on the whole EP. The playful synthesizer creates a catchy cheerful melody that unless you heard it, you’d never guess that Zach’s voice would go so well with it. ‘Venice’ is a lot less cheery. The synthesizer sounds like it’s losing touch and spacing out, but when you add the overtly dramatic vocals, it creates a sound you’ve never heard until now.

As a whole, the two concepts go awkwardly well together. Each one compliments the others in ways you’d never expect. Every song is good, and none of it’s unlistenable, except for the self-indulgent ‘On a Bayonet’ and the slightly distasteful ‘The Concubine’. That aside, I commend Beirut for taking a leap and releasing something that’s so different from what they are used to and then nailing it. If this is any representation of what they will be doing with their next album, I know for a fact it’s going to be good.

“Let's say there's a month when I'm a little sick of hearing the songs I'm recording, I'll slink back to my parents' house and very quietly record these epic synth-pop tracks, and kind of clear the palette and get back into it. They're different aspects of my personality, I guess.”-Zach Condon

Video for La Llorona

Recommendations: The Akara, The Shrew, My Night with the Prostitute from Marseille, No Dice
Beirut's Official Website
Note: I hope you enjoy! I must say, I'm a Beirut fan now! I will be reviewing either MGMT or Phoenix next so stay tuned. I appreciate your comments!

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