Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Ashes of Vesuvius - The New New Beirut EP

Beirut is a spatial band. Their new Pompeii EP is only available digitally at EMusic helps us circumnavigate their short but illustrious travels. Their old new ep, Lon Gisland, presumably named in reference to the band's migration to Williamsburg BK from Albequerque NM, was a logical continuation of their Gypsy Folk stylings of my #1 album of last year, Gulag Orkestar. The "move to Brooklyn" has come to signify a band's immersion into the hipster capital of the universe, availabliity to a larger listening public and an fight for distinction of a unique sound in the polyglot of musical happenings. Ironically, just as Pompeii is a forgotten subterrean city, so is this album, devoid of any the eastern European, or Northeastern American flair. It's placeless. This two-song b-side, a digital 7", submerges the organic sounds the flittering mandolins and accordions of Eastern Europe under a ethereal synthesized piano gobblety-gook. Releasing an online only b-side has morphed their sound into a sterile "scenic world."

Zach Condon's wavery voice sounds more like Kid A Thom Yorke than ever before; you can actually tell he's singing in english, and the multiple recorded layers of his voice gives a haunting robotic overtones than the proletarian mumblings of his occidental influence the of string driven/horn bubbling/ accordion bellowing/ gems "Postcards from Italy" and "Elephant Gun." Excavations take a long time, and Beirut rushed this one. You have to admire Condon's proflicacy, but this EP probably should have stayed buried.

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