Released July 23, 2013 // Vagrant Records // Rough Trade Records
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros are essential to any morning / wake-up / A.M. jam playlist. “Janglin” from their second studio album, Up From Below, would have to be one of my favorite songs to have breakfast to. Quick backstory of the group: frontman, Alex Ebert, created Edward Sharpe as somewhat of an alter ego, referring to him as a messianic figure who just happened to get distracted by falling in love. Female vocalist, Jade Castrinos, joined him as one of those gals, and even though that was not meant to be – 10 more members joined. They would technically be the magnetic zeros.
Ebert wrote and composed just about all of the tracks on the new self-titled album. You can tell from listening to the entire album that each and every song meant something to him. The album sounds familiar, but not because of the group’s past albums. It sounds familiar to the heart of the 1960’s, and not anything trying to sound like the 1960’s. The self-titled album achieves its goal as a neo-psychedelia album.
Not to mention, the cover art rules.
1. Better Days – the first single released from this album in May 2013 / integrates classic background vocals and clapping in unison into the track
“Just know that every time I look in your eye, I see better, I see better, better days”
2. Let’s Get High –high on love, that is!
“Ain’t no difference to me / Ain’t we all Japanese / When we’re hiiiiiigh on love”
3. Two – our first taste of Jade’s female vocals on the album / as previously mentioned, quite the morning jam / very definitive of the 60’s style
4. Please! – might as well be an inspirational Beatles track / immediately thought about the song as having a lot of meaning to Alex Ebert
5. Country Calling – 100% fun / quality harmonies take center stage / each section of the song sounds like it belongs somewhere else, IN A GOOD WAY
6. Life is Hard – takes a different direction than the other tracks / continually imagined 60’s artists singing this specific song
“Come celebrate / life is hard”
^ Now that’s the way to think
7. If I Were Free – truly inspired by 60’s components / keys really stand out, something I love in music / loved the lyrics / predicted my own colorful music video for this
“I saw that you and I forever have been free / The light became too heavy and I fell into a dream”
8. In the Lion – So much yes / definitely a solid song to cruise to with the windows down / percussion & brass are phenomenal / constant crescendo in the chorus is fantastic
9. They Were Wrong – avoiding sounding ignorant, but could totally work as a western – inspired track, considering all I can picture is a desert!
10. In the Summer – become obsessed with this song before the summer’s over! / almost reminds me of something they’d play on an episode of The Wonder Years / certainly mellow
11. Remember to Remember – all female vocals / gotta sway to this tune
12. This Life – slow & powerful ballet / incorporates call & response
“This life ain’t for me now / It’s for you / Liar / I’m telling the truth”
If you like what you hear, you can catch Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros tonight on the Late Show with David Letterman, or live at this weekend’s XPoNential Music Festival in Camden, NJ.