Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes | A Review of Here

It’s overwhelming sometimes, the sheer volume of stylistic influences that people draw on these days. The availability and amount of music that people have access to and as a result can be influenced by is astounding.  If you are interested in one genre from an era gone by all you need to do is go to iTunes (or wherever it is you get your music from) and fill your music library to your heart’s content.  The genesis of any album that is released by musicians could be as a result of listening to The Beatles, Johnny Cash, The Cure, The Sex Pistols even Yani. If that is what you need to draw on to make music that you can stand singing then that is what needs to be done. This blending of past and present musical influences has always been around in one way or another, though it seems more pronounced now given the current climate involving pop music and its style recycler (insert Lady Gaga comparison to Madonna here).  Next year Boybands will be back with a vengeance.

The upside of this phenomenon is a large selection of smaller current bands with varying styles, such as the psychedelic folk band Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes who have just released their second album titled Here.  Edward Sharpe was the name of a character created by the lead singer Alex Ebert while writing a book about a messiah who was sent to earth to save the human race only to be sidetracked from his mission by more important things such as the pursuit of love and female companionship.  The band gained a large fan base from the song Home and have a reputation for creating a unique atmosphere during live performances.    Their latest album Here has a style that boarders on psychedelic gospel music. The music is entrenched with religious elements but somehow manages to avoid falling into the artistic death spiral associated with god-awful Christian music.  

The question that a lot of people are asking is whether or not Here has a track that can stand alongside of the very popular song Home?  Well, let’s look at the elements of Home which made that song so attractive. It told a very lighthearted story  that focused on what it really means to call someplace or in this case someone home. It was a charming idea for a song and the lyrics meld very well with the vocal duet performed by Ebert and Jade Castrinos all set to alternative folk style the band seems to exude in an effortless manner. These familiar elements made Home what it was and resonate with such a large audience.  It touched on the omnipresent search for a sense of belonging and love that most people spend their lives looking for but so often are found wanting.  

The answer as to whether or not Here has a song similar to that of Home, is a big no. That doesn’t mean that Here is not a good album though. There are a number of good tracks on this album. Man on Fire has a classic rock style with great background harmonies, is similar to a style heard on Micah P Hinson And The Pioneer Saboteurs but without the dark tone.  Dear Believer features some high quality crooning topped by a strong chorus filled horns which always makes an impact in a song if executed properly.   

Here ends up being a strong follow-up to the band’s debut album and will no doubt find a home among fans and just might strike a chord with people looking for an album with a roots rock vibe, without having to dust off a piece of vinyl.       

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