Owen Cook directs and animates Beirutâ€™s â€œLa Lloronaâ€ off of their recent double EP,Â March Of The Zapotec/Realpeople Holland. The cinematography could easilyÂ pass for anÂ Oscar-nominated digital short, though â€œLa Lloronaâ€ will more likely be appreciated byÂ theÂ MTV2-insomniac-YouTube-lovingÂ set (assuming this alleged audience actually exists).Â With fluid illustrations of an uncomplicated, subtly poignant time, the video is an apt interpretation of Beirutâ€™s sad yet celebratory waltz.Â The lingering notes in â€œLa Lloronaâ€ seem left over from this simpler, more provincial era.
The term â€œLa Lloronaâ€ translates from Spanish into â€œthe weeping womanâ€; it references the cautionary tale of a woman who, after suffering heartbreaking rejection, kills her own children, commits suicide, and is condemned to spend eternity as a weeping ghost.Â Think the anti-octuplet mom. Â Frontman Zach Condonâ€™s voice is both hauntingly powerful and languorous â€” like a eulogy contorting out of a soundtrack for some freakyÂ Cirque du Soleil production. Condonâ€™s timbre mirrors La Lloronaâ€™s sobs echoing aimlessly throughout Cookâ€™s painted city.Â However, his sound is far from effete; in fact, itâ€™s way more drunken 50-year-old baritone than forlorn maiden.Â Though Condonâ€™s seemingly adolescent face plays like a kid who just mastered theÂ recorder at school,Â his vocals mesh amidst Cookâ€™s landscape with piercing timelessness well beyond his years (a sort of Radioheadâ€™s Thom Yorke â€œmy voice is just an instrument like the othersâ€).
â€œLa Lloronaâ€ was inspired by Condonâ€™s recent trip to Oaxaca, Mexico and was recorded there accompanied by a 19 piece Jimenez band; they are rendered by Cook as black-and-white cartoon sketchesÂ with pulsating, golden wind instruments and clanging cymbals (sadly, no cowbell).Â Â The videoâ€™s imagery evokes the bandâ€™s surroundings with an airÂ ofÂ magical realism more reminiscent of the Mexico depicted in last seasonâ€™sÂ Weeds than inÂ Girls Gone Wild Spring Break.Â Â Itâ€™s a heavily cultured place; traditional with a slow-paced tempo, beating like the soles of clobbering shoes on weathered, cobblestone roads.Â Â Almost like the fictitious Spanish speaking town ofÂ Macondo from Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquezâ€™sÂ One Hundred Years of Solitude but as if visualized byÂ Marc Chagall (perhaps a bit less colorful than his work).Â Cookâ€™s watercolor graveyards are smeared, looking muted and tear-stained.Â Guided by Condonâ€™s voice (embodied by a black dog cartoon), cadenced like a funeral procession through the streets, Cookâ€™s animation lets Beirut fans act as voyeurs in this world and tells its story from their collective consciousness. The result is a video that is basically all around awesome.
Ever away from seeing more than life
The morning lies miles away from the night
No man ever could steal her heart but
With bright gold coins Iâ€™ll take my shot
And all it takes to fall
If you donâ€™t walk, might as well crawl
All it takes to fall
What a quiet world after all
Of the things that you guessed will come
What a moment it was after allâ€