Beirut March of the Zapotec and Realpeople Holland

Beirut March of the Zapotec and Realpeople Holland
With double EP March of the Zapotec and Realpeople Holland, Beirut's mastermind/musical imperialist Zach Condon turns his sights to Mexico and his laptop, respectively. Vibrant, diverse and often stirring, the resultant collection yet again broadens the band's evolutionary canon. As promised, March looks southward, utilizing a field recording of a Mexican street band on "El Zócalo" and employing Band Jimenez throughout. With parading orchestral accompaniment, bass drum thumping and Condon's romping trumpet, "The Shrew" owes the most to its geographical inspirations. Similarly, "The Akara" is an at-turns melancholy and robust, barrio-ready dance number. However, this isn't Beirut's mariachi record; the band's hallmarks (i.e., heavy horns and literary lyrics) remain. Aside from Condon's voice, the discs have little in common. Performed under his Realpeople Holland guise, CD two finds the songwriter experimenting with his laptop, dolling out uncharacteristically subtle, though no less sublime, concoctions. Digital Ash in a Digital Urn this isn't. Like Hot Chip slowed down several BPMs, "My Wife Lost in the Wild" unassumingly piles on simulated percussion. Its vocal melody echoes the bridge of "Boy From Schools" but the singer-songwriter's several part vocals make it his. "Venice" quietly shimmers and "The Concubine" happily stomps along but its instrumental jaunt "No Dice" that sees Condon venturing furthest from his typical terrain. It and infectious, blip-friendly tale "My Night with the Prostitute from Marseille" are this stellar collection's standouts. (Ba Da Bing!)