Monday, May 28, 2012

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros: "Here" (album review)

Right off the bat I have to admit that I never really delved into the debut from Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros.  Of course I thought "Home" was a great track, how could I not, but for some reason I never got around to the entire record.  So the sophomore full length, Here, serves as a bit of an introduction to the band for me.

An undeniable thread of spirituality runs through these songs.  "That's What's Up" works itself up into a lather, along the way becoming an exuberant Gospel revival number.  An African flair (think Paul Simon's Graceland) makes the joyous "One Love To Another".

From the other side comes the mountain stomp of "I Don't Wanna Pray", a track that seems perfect for some backwoods religious hootenanny.  After a slow start, "Man On Fire" becomes a jangly ditty.  The female leads in "Fiya Wata" blend with an emotive guitar to make for a heart-wrenching experience.

None of the songs holds the same impact as "Mayla".  Beginning as a chorus of voices reminiscent of negro spirituals, the song rises and rises in passion, until it bursts forth, washing over the listener with a feeling of redemption.

At the end of the day there is not even a hint of a sophomore slump for Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros.  They've delivered an exceptional record that should meet the lofty expectations the people have placed on it.

Best tracks: "Mayla", "That's What's Up"

Track listing for Here:
  • Man On Fire
  • That's What's Up
  • I Don't Wanna Pray
  • Mayla
  • Dear Believer
  • Child
  • One Love To Another
  • Fiya Wata
  • All Washed Out

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