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March of the Zapotec & Realpeople - Holland

Beirut

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iTunes Review

In 2006, Zach Condon grabbed a lot of attention when he released Gulag Orkestar, an album that mixed the blast of Balkan brass bands with the melancholy of indie rock. It was striking to hear a vocalist who recalled Stephin Merritt and Rufus Wainwright backed by imported oom-pah horn stylings. On the 2009 double-EP, March of the Zapotec & Realpeople - Holland, we see two sides of Condon’s craft. The first EP, March…, finds the New Mexico native collaborating with a different kind of brass group, the Jimenez Band, an outfit from the state of Oaxaca in Mexico; on …Holland, which is credited to Realpeople, Condon creates muted electro-pop. Despite the difference in styles, Condon’s sensibility — and singing — make the two EPs cohere. March opens with “El Zocalo,” a brief instrumental that catches the brass band in fine form, and closes up with “The Shrew,” where Mexican elements are incorporated into Beirut’s distinctive sound. Then we move into Holland’s “My Night With the Prostitute from Marseille,” where twinkly synth plays off of Condon’s yearning vocals. The longest track, “No Dice,” a perky-but-somehow-sad electronic instrumental, wraps things up.

Customer Reviews

Zach Codon is a Golden God

This 2-part EP is Magnificent. With it Beirut is able exhibit their amazingly diverse ways to toy with your emotions. The March of the Zapotec begins with El Zocalo and finishes with The Shrew. It can only be described as a symphony of horns; intricately assembled the wheezing sounds of brass at times resemble an imposibly rich accordion. Realpeople–Holland (My Night with the Prostitute from Marseille-to-No Dice) is something you’d never have expected from Beirut. It’s an electronic EP, and though you may remember synthesizer bits throughout the songs like Scenic World, this EP is uncomparable—Something you must listen to over and over to experience.

Buyer Beware

If you're expecting the typical Beirut sound- don't be fooled. The 30-second samples pretty much sum up each song- Condon doesn't really develop any of the songs much. I'm a big Beirut band and have enjoyed almost all of their music thus far- until this album. Half the songs are just instrumentals and it seems like Condon didn't put as much effort into this as he has put into past albums. But hey, I'll grant any artist one mulligan album- here's to a better follow-up.

progress

To the one star rater: I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt that you've not followed beirut and have not heard his music progress. I can only hope one day you understand exactly how amazing of a band beirut is. I award you no points, and may god have mercy on your soul.

Biography

Formed: 2006 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

One of 2006's most unexpected indie success stories, Beirut combines a wide variety of styles, from pre-rock/pop music and Eastern European Gypsy styles to the alternately plaintive and whimsical indie folk of the Decemberists to the lo-fi, homemade psychedelic experimentation of Neutral Milk Hotel. At the heart of this sonic hybrid was a teenager from Albuquerque, New Mexico, a fact that made Beirut's debut album, Gulag Orkestar, all the more surprising. Something of a musical prodigy, multi-instrumentalist...
Full Bio

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