Beirut-March of the Zapotec/Holland
Release Date: February 16, 2009
As a girl who claims to be quite a huge Beirut fan, my natural reaction when I first heard about the newest production from said band was, OMG! I had read in an article in Fader Magazine that front man, Zac Condon, had traveled down to the Oaxaca region of Mexico and recorded with a troop of local musicians known as Banda Jimenez of Teotitlan del Valle. This bit of information made Zapotec all the more exciting, as a blogger of Mexican decent, to feast my ears on.
I had prepared myself to listen to the album on the train ride to work which takes about 30-45 minutes, more than enough time to get through the entire EP. Right off the bat, I was met with the lush, pompous sounds of trumpets, and tubas, as I expected, beautifully arranged, not necessarily in traditional banda, but still with the essence of the region. However, about 16 minutes into my quenching my fangirl lust, I was rudely interrupted by generic sounding synths coming through my headphones. I had to check my iPod nano to make sure it hadn’t suddenly decided to crap out. I found, however that, yes indeed I was still listening to the same EP, and sure enough as the vocals started up, none other than Zac Condon. What I didn’t realize was that this was a double EP with that dumb “/Holland” tacked on to the end. I guess the back slash allows you to put together two entirely different genres of music and have it be OK. In this case, please do not pass the Dutch.
I was disappointed to say the least with the latter half of the EP, which belongs in a Hyundai commercial or relegated to one of Zac Condons side projects.
Stand out track in March of the Zapotec is “The Akara.” Condon’s voice comes off smooth, silky and sexy.
Overall, the first 6 tracks are great, and worth listening to. Everything else? Eh.