Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros break out of their sophomore slump with their self-titled third album.
In 2009, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros burst on to the music scene with their debut album, Up From Below. Singles “Home” and “40 Day Dream” propelled the band to almost instant stardom. Unfortunately, 2012’s Here failed to produce a prodigious hit like “Home,” and, though not a necessarily a bad album, left fans seriously wanting.
While the new self-titled album, released Jul. 23, is also missing a radio-friendly, sing-a-long single, the band has produced an impressive, grandiose, somewhat melancholy, freak-folk gem.
Bandleader Alex Ebert must’ve immersed himself in his classic LPs while putting this record together. Many will notice the influence of The Beatles psychedelic era material. Big, lush arrangements with horns, strings and rich, gospel harmonies ornament nearly every song.
Soulful touches, a la The Supremes, grace several songs. “Remember to Remember” calls to mind The Eagles, and Ebert channels Dylan and Bob Marley, on “Let’s Get High.”
Though the pop influences are apparent, this is far from a pop album. There’s definitely nothing like “Home” here, but this is a band that has certainly matured since Up From Below. Ebert’s lyrics are far more somber, but more effectively composed, focusing on themes of love, or a lack thereof, and the difficulties of life.
If it doesn’t hit right away, give it a few more listens. This is really a magnificent album. Some fans of the early singles might argue, but this album is possibly their best yet.