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Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros are an interesting band to say the least. Carrying the sound of another era, this 12-piece American indie-folk band released its second studio album Here May 29.
Led by Alex Ebert and Jade Castrinos, this band has found moderate success in its career so far. Their previous album Up From Below started off slow but found tons of success commercially with their hit “Home.” This built up moderate anticipation for this newest release. Here debuted at #5 on the Billboard 200 with 35,000 copies sold in its opening week. Frankly, I’m surprised by that statistic. The band has only had one real big hit, but with the folk revitalization in indie music, maybe there is still much anticipation for a band like this.
Ebert used to be the front-man of a power-pop group that I loved, Ima Robot. Seemingly transforming his entire way of life from electrified to peaceful, Ebert now has the long beard and the “flower power” atmosphere around him. Castrinos balances the flow and sound of Edward Sharpe albums, and together, the two produce a nice sound.
With that said, I was pleasantly surprised by Here. Clearly going into it you have to know what you’re expecting, a very mellow and humble sound. I’ve lost myself in the album a couple times. Some songs stick out, but every song compliments each other well and makes art out of an album. The music is capable of leaving you to drift off into your own mind, which might be a goal of this sort of music.
However, being this is a review, some songs stick out. I personally love the track “That’s What’s Up.” I feel it stands out from the album, in tempo and musical direction, but it’s absolutely enjoyable. Ebert and Castrinos sing simultaneously and this song is very cheerful and fun. It has a happy, feel-good tone, and this is cemented with the lyrical genuine idea “I’ll always be here for you.” The key to the song is towards the end, where we find Castrinos singing alone to a hand-clap that really takes it home. Not to mention the adorable music video of children leading adult lives featured at the bottom of this review. This song/video combo is nothing but simply enjoyable.
Another song that stands out is “Fiya Wata,” which is the other tune that Castrinos takes charge in. What I like about this track is they step away from the serenity style of song, and indulge into a southern rock tempo in this tune. Not to mention Castrinos’ impressive soulful sound, with a mild guitar solo plugged in, the band shows another side.
With the exception of “That’s What’s Up,” the rest of the songs stay somewhat mild. They are good songs, and implement a classic, boot-stomping, folk feel. Many of the tracks are Ebert and an acoustic guitar. The religious theme appears in Here, here and there in the lyrics and the entire sound of the track “Mayla.” The others are tranquil folk songs that almost anyone can enjoy.
The thing that grabs me about this Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, is they enjoy making the music. I personally think the up-tempo tracks are the most enjoyable ones to listen to, and I do wish they released more tracks such as “Home” or the previous two tracks listed. However, I put my faith in the band to make what they want, because they seem to be doing alright for themselves so far.
Here is a good album. While it can be enjoyed as a whole, the band does a good job even making it an effective background soundtrack to a peaceful day. I recommend giving the album a listen. Enjoy it on a quiet afternoon or something, it will put you at ease, and clear the mind for at least a little while. I give the album 3.5 out of 5, and I’m interested to see what Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros will do next.
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – “That’s What’s Up”: