At first glance I asked myself, ‚ÄúWhy two EPs? Why not one good album?‚Äù Then I listened.¬†March of the Zapotec, apparently inspired by a recent sojourn in Oaxaca, Mexico, plays like the White Album for Mariachi bands. More than drenched, it is nearly indigenous-sounding music that is a result of Zach Condon‚Äôs Mexican stay, just as Balkan folk and French Chanson music heavily influenced the last release, The Flying Club Cup. The first track (more of an intro), ‚ÄúEl Zocalo,‚Äù erupts from the start. It’s like being thrown into the middle of a Mexican street carnival. Like past releases, Beirut are able to cleverly synergize an international folk sound with good ole American indie whimsy.
Realpeople Holland is a nifty piece of indie electro-pop. This one is more a return to the familiar Beirut, at least vocally – ‚ÄúMy Night with the Prostitute from Marseille‚Äù brings Condon‚Äôs forlorn, drunken bellowing up front and center. The electronic exploration of Condon‚Äôs musical construction on this EP is lighter and not so much like ‚Äúyour-favorite-indie-music-got-swallowed-by-the-World Music-section-of-the-record-store‚Äù sounds of other work. ‚ÄúVenice‚Äù maximizes feeling and mood with its muted horns bleeding through waves of electronica, and the instrumental ‚ÄúNo Dice‚Äù seals it all a with a sugary retro kiss.
Article originally appeared in REAX #38, April 2009