CD Review: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

by David

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Long celebrated (or at least 3 year celebrated) Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros are back from their latest album Up From Below with their newest title Here. Edward Sharpe, the versatile front man of the band has a less quirky tone in this latest album, opting this time for a talented backing band and storytelling lyrics to blend and create an arching feeling that lasts throughout the album. On their previous album, the zeros relied heavily on the advent of Edward Sharpe’s voice (a quaintly old style and familiar one) to give them recognition.

And recognition they did receive. The album received international acclaim with their single “Home” as it was used in movies and commercials in many countries around the world.

The album starts out with the soothing and calming first song, although not so aptly named, “Man on Fire”, and right from the start it is clear that the band wants you to have an experience. This music is as much about how it makes you feel as the actual music itself. In “Man On Fire” Sharpe’s voice takes a pleasant melody and tune and wraps it in a warmth that is soothing, but let’s you engage the song with intellect and purpose. This song moves into the more excitable song “That’s What’s Up”.

In “That’s What’s Up” the power of Jade Castrina’s voice is more evident. Although the defining strength of her voice that was present in “Up From Below” is no longer there, the blending of her voice with Sharpe’s and the wonderful “dance your feet off” clapping in the song really inspires a vivid listening and bright tone. The next song following “I Don’t Want To Pray” highlights the gospel feeling that you get from the album, and also gives you a greater sense of what Sharpe is trying to achieve with the album. He wants to tell you a story, to wrap you in music and guide you through almost an hour of easy listening and inner searching.

The next songs are nearly explosive in their shift in tone from the first few, but the change is refreshing and tells you of the versatility that the zero’s posses as a band that is looking to define itself among many genres and not just settle into one. The album is out on iTunes currently, and you should get a taste of what Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros have to offer: a versatile listening experience that guides you through a mix of the old and the new, the familiar and the strange, and a defining quality that sets this album as one of my favorites of the last couple years.

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