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Customer Reviews

I can't tell you...

how grateful I am that this band exists! They remind me that life is magic.. pure and simple! Xo

A Pioneer's Repose

The critical success of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ debut, Up From Below, set a notably high bar for subsequent releases. Regrettably, the band’s second showing—Here—fails to measure up to the potential demonstrated earlier by this talented conglomeration of artists. In Here, the group sacrifices musical variety for sparse arrangements and whispery vocal stylings, a tradeoff that leaves the record without the eccentric bombast and instrumental depth of its predecessor.

Up From Below’s aural diversity conjured up images of the intrepid ten-piece band blazing a dusty trail through uncharted melodic territory; indeed, a large part of the debut’s charm stemmed from the remarkable versatility exemplified in its collection of infectious, driven folk numbers (“Janglin’,” “Up From Below,” “Home”), evocative natural soundscapes (“40 Day Dream,” its eerily hollow “Desert Song,” the deliciously psychedelic mishmash found in “Om Nashi Me”), and emotive acoustic pieces (“Brother,” “Simple Love”).

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros inexplicably forgo this admirably adventurous mentality on their sophomore release, and the results are indistinctive and bland. Pockets of the album do offer slices of the group’s former zeal: the rollicking “That’s What’s Up” deftly pairs a spirited vocal duet with festive folk hooks (a coupling that generates one of the only songs here with a pulse), the opening “Man on Fire” is a fine example of musical driftwood done well, and the album’s closing number, “All Wash Out,” recalls the debut’s inspired instrumental choices through a delicate downpour of piano keys and appropriately stormy percussion buildup. These bright spots, however, are largely obscured by the monotony surrounding them. The collection is suffocated by an overabundance of forgettable, mid-tempo acoustic tracks barely anchored by uncharacteristically skeletal lyrics; the tedious, overdrawn “Mayla” is one of the bunch’s worst offenders. This problem of stale composition is amplified by the album’s markedly short track listing. If listeners have already experienced the multifaceted musical joy of Up From Below, the rhythmic and melodic redundancy of many Here tracks will likely fail to satisfy.

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros is absolutely a band with great promise, but promise alone does not create art. The group’s second album exhibits a disappointing lack of ambition, a fault that renders the compilation relatively lukewarm. With any luck, though, the pioneers of Up From Below will return someday to treat audiences with fresh helpings of the delightfully inventive music we know they’re capable of making.

Numerical Score: 2.5/5

Pure beauty

Addicted to Man on Fire. The whole album is beautiful. Only complaint is that I wish it was longer.


Formed: 2007 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Formed in 2007 by Ima Robot frontman Alex Ebert after a brief period of existential crisis, the cultish ten-piece indie rock outfit Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros draw their inspiration from the communal musical communities that peppered Southern California (specifically Laurel Canyon) with positive vibrations during the '60s and early '70s. Employing a unique sound that brought to mind a not-so-subtle mix of Parliament, Polyphonic Spree, Bob Marley, and the Incredible String Band, the then 11-piece...
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