Friday, January 30, 2009

Review: Beirut - Holland/March Of The Zapotec

Artist: Beirut
Album: Holland / March Of The Zapotec
Rating: 4 out of 5
In a nutshell: Brilliantly eclectic

I've never heard of Beirut before I recently read it in a friend's blog who thought it was brilliant. So I thought I'd give it a try. And it didn't disappoint. By the way, I'm writing this in the point of view of someone who has never heard Beirut before.

Technically this is a double EP. 'Holland' is produced under Zach Condon's (the man behind the one-man band that started it all) old moniker, realpeople. And he's right to use two different names for two different sides of this brilliant release. The two EPs are very different indeed.

On 'March Of The Zapotec,' he collaborates with the Jimenez Band, who - believe it or not - is a 19-piece Mexican funeral band. Oh, it's gonna be dark, sad and all background i.e. dull music, I hear you say. Not quite. Beirut's strength here lies in his ability to blend his emotions in his music. There's a darkness to it. There's a sultriness to it. And there's also an optimism to it. It's all quite sensual. There's so much here that grabs you. It's a kind of a mini orchestra with every little thing catching your attention here and there.

'Holland' on the other hand is a more upbeat affair. It's electronica stripped down to its bare bones. My particular favourite here is 'My Night With The Prostitute From Marseille.' It sounds like James Yuill if he decided to employ a mellow Matthew Bellamy as his vocalist and started playing around with other instruments other than his trusty acoustic guitar. 'My Wife, Lost In The Wild' sounds like Hercules & Love Affair collaborating with Bon Iver. Yes, in a sense it is folk electronica.

To be honest, I enjoyed the 'Holland' side more. This is probably because I've grown to liking James Yuill and Hot Chip (not that this is that similar to Hot Chip). But 'The March Of The Zapotec' is brilliant nonetheless.

Signing out

Over and out

Now playing: Beirut - My Wife, Lost in the Wild
via FoxyTunes

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