Friday, July 19, 2013

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes: "Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes" (album review)

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes are obviously fans of striking while the iron's hot, because on July 23rd they'll release their new self-titled record, the third full length album in just under five years.
Stylistically, the new record is all over the map.  The basis is still blissful indie pop mixed with psychedelia, but the augmenting elements are far flung.

The record kicks off with "Better Days".  It shouldn't be surprising to fans, since it's the best dose of the spiritually uplifting music we've got from them in the past.

The jangly psychedelic "Let's Get High" is also vintage Magnetic Zeroes.  The take the LSD trip a little too far on "If I Were Free", which sounds more than vaguely reminiscent of "Octopus' Garden".

The tracks "Please!" and "Country Calling" provide back-to-back twang.  The first is a ballad, the second a stomp-and-clap romp.

It's an abrupt swerve with "Life Is Hard", a ditty that could've been a standard slow dance at '50s sock hops.

Lead singer Alex Ebert stretches out his vocal cords on the closer "This Life".  He does a pretty darn good Joe Cocker impression.

Nothing is atrocious on the album, but there are definitely some songs that drag down the whole.  "Two" is a messy, confusing duet that's ultimately a little hard to listen to.  The World rhythms incorporated into "In the Lion" are at odds with other elements, making it sound sloppy, rather than the intended loose.  Ebert's vocals on "They Were Wrong" have a Peter Murphy aura to them, that is backed by a Dead Can Dance-style snaky winding.

The diverse range of influences shows the band's versatility, but it makes for a disjointed listening experience.  It may be best consumed one track at a time rather than as an entire front-to-back record.

Best tracks: "Better Days", "Country Calling"

Track listing for Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes:
  • Better Days
  • Let's Get High
  • Two
  • Please!
  • Country Calling
  • Life Is Hard
  • If I Were Free
  • In the Lion
  • They Were Wrong
  • In the Summer
  • Remember To Remember
  • This Life

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