Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
“Up From Below”
Los Angeles-based indie folk rockers Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros released their first EP back in May of 2009 “Here Comes” and followed up soon after with their full-length “Up From Below” in July of the same year. The band is composed of former band Ima Robot’s lead singer Alex Ebert in 2007 after some existential crises and time off from music.
The 11-piece outfit has very obvious inspirations that are obviously Southern Californian, (specifically Laurel Canyon) and are mixed with sentimentalities that were prominent during the ‘60s and early ‘70s. Their unique blending of sound, vocals and instruments calls to mind band such as the Polyphonic Spree, Bob Marley, the Beatles, Johnny Cash and even some early Motown groups. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros released their debut EP, “Here Comes,” in May 2009, followed by the full-length “Up from Below” in July of the same year.
The album has a range of tracks filling it, from meandering slow tracks with minimal instruments and softly-sang vocals to explosions of instruments and layered vocals begging listeners to get up and dance, no matter where they may be listening to the album.
The album’s opener, “40 Day Dream” includes handclaps, background layered vocals, Ebert’s soulful voice and tons of percussion with some of that aforementioned Motown vibe and even inspiration from OutKast seeping through. “I’ve been sleeping for 40 days and I know I’m sleeping because this dream is amazing” hints at the lighthearted whimsy, optimistic lyrics and orchestral jams that permeate through the rest of the album.
“Janglin” begins with guitar and the plucking of an acoustic one, with “mmms” sung in the background, piano and percussion. The chorus pleads with listeners and even name drops the band with, “we want to feel ya!/ we don’t mean to kill ya!/ we come back to heal ya - janglin soul/ Edward and the Magnetic Zeros” and is just exuding complete energy and enthusiasm and silly times. With percussion backing the vocals, this track feels incredibly anthemic.
The album’s sixth track, “Home,” gives listeners a modern day June Carter and Johnny Cash feel and establishes itself as the album’s epic highlight. This track rocks, whistles and is filled with fast-paced drums and guitars that yield a very Western, Americana type sound. “Alabama, Arkansas, I do love my mom and pa/ but not the way I love you/ home is wherever I’m with you” yields a back and forth lyrical response between Ebert and Jade Castrinos that highlights their love for one another and the band. The bridge of the song along with the lyrics highlighting when Ebert fell in love her make this track completely endearing and sweet.
Some tracks on “Up From Below” slow things down, but the standouts on the album interspersed throughout make it an effort that stands solid on its own, and is definitely worth giving many thorough listens to.
Edwarde Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros play Bumbershoot at 8 p.m. on Sept. 4. For more info, to listen to songs or see other tour dates, visit their Myspace page at www.myspace.com/edwardsharpe or their website at www.edwardsharpeandthemagneticzeros.com.