Album Review: Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes, 'Here'
Published: Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
Following up on their 2009 debut album "Up From Below," Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes are continuing their reign in the hippie folk sphere that they created for themselves.
With sophomore album "Here," the 10-piece shows that they were no one-hit wonder. Sailing under the indie radar for months, the 10-piece finally achieved fame with their catchy ballad “Home.” While staying true to their '70s folk roots, the album sounds fresh and innovative. So how does a band break out of a genre that they created for themselves? Redefine it.
The album, barely 40 minutes in length, kicks off with “Man on Fire.” The song is a huge departure from the band’s previous singles. The song begins melancholy vocals, reminiscent of a thoughtful Johnny Cash. Haunting harmonies between lead singers Jade and Alexander loom over the listener, creating an almost eerie ambience. The lengthy song remains fresh by alternating between sparse orchestration and intricate arrangement. The song channels the call-and-response featured in “Home” between Jade and Alexander. The singers’ voices eventually build into a cheery groove with singer Jade, signaling the return of the Magnetic Zeroes that we all know and love. The song builds into a foot stomping hippie groove.
“I Don’t Wanna Pray” is a hokey track with heavy Americana overtones. From the sit-around-the-campfire melody to its insightful lyrics, the Zeroes show their musical versatility. Lyrics like “I don’t wanna pray to my maker/ I just wanna be what I see” lend seriousness to the otherwise satirical song.
The album develops with full-bodied Beatles-esque tracks. Soaring harmonies and heavy use of brass instruments harken back to arrangements of the early 70s. Here marks a transition into a more industrial sound, heavy in electric guitar and modern influences while still maintaining the airy qualities that make the band so unique.
“Child” is the most grounded and mellow track of the album and is sure to be a fan favorite. Bob Dylan-esque acoustic finger picking combined with classic folk music techniques keep the song grounded. Bass drum resonates in the background. Simple composition showcases the mass of talent present in the monstrously large hippie folk machine. Emotionally tender vocals are soft yet still demand attention.
The hippie ten-piece’s debut album title "Up From Below" was indicative of their rise to fame. And it is the same case with "Here." Edward Sharpe and his nine hippie comrades have indeed arrived, they are here.