Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Self-titled

A new summer of love dawns thanks to Edward Sharpes' jangling folk-rock, and love and peace messages.

You would be forgiven if you mistook the self-titled album from Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros as an album from 1967s summer of love. The Nuevo-hippie commune of a band doesn’t employ any electronic, rap, or hip-hop innovations that would mark its sound as a new release. The album bursts with jangly folk-rock, joyful harmonies, hand-clapping, and songs about peace, love, and understanding. It's sound is elevated by horns and strings and the massive chorus of people.

Multi-instrumentalist Alex Ebert fronts the band, writing or co-writing all songs, arranging strings, and taking lead vocals. He is often joined by singer Jade Castrinos as well as the swelling voices of his 10 piece band. Additional musicians are added as needed. In regards to the new album, Ebert was quoted as saying “These songs mean everything to me - It's the rawest, most liberated, most rambunctious stuff we've done.”

The mood is set in the opening lines of the opening track, “Better Days” as Ebert implores his listener to forget about the past and focus on better days. “Down with history/Up with your head.” If that isn’t hippie speak then I’ve lost my ‘60s credentials. Track 2 is called “Let’s Get High” – self-explanatory, I’d say. “Two Voices” is an anthem about strength in numbers. “Please” is a communal hymn-like call for love as the antidote for war. “Country Calling” finds earth-father Ebert lamenting dirty city living versus the purity of country living. “If I were free, I would run into/battles with flowers and hugs” he sings on the next track. Does this sound familiar anyone over fifty years of age? Well, there’s a new generation of folks who are discovering this attitude. The more things change, the more they remain the same, as they say.

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros may be covering ground that has been tread before by another generation, but it is done with such joyful gusto that one can’t help but enjoy the experience – in some cases, again.

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