Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros are no secret. Thanks to commercials and the incredibly influential rise of indie rock as a, if not the, musical powerhouse, bands like Alex Ebert and his group of folk rockers have benefited from a much more widespread popularity than bands like them could have experienced before. The first album was quintessential indie rock, while this album is definitely…different. Initially that may sound bad, but this is a very, very good thing.
We’re famous for exaggerated comparisons here, so here’s another one. This album is as close to a new Beatles’ album as you’re likely to get. There are songs on this album that sound like b-sides from Beatles’ albums and that’s a really cool thing. It’s not a Beatles’ album and it’s not going to go down as one of the best albums ever, but it’s a really great album and a lot of fun to listen to and sing along with.
The album has a lo-fi sound to it; it sounds like it was recorded in the 60s, which helps to add to the classic rock sound that permeates the album. From the very beginning, the first track “Man On Fire,” the band sets up the “music for music’s sake” style and sound by singing, “I’m a man on fire, walking through your street,/ With one guitar, an two dancing feet,/ I have one desire, that’s left in me,/ I want the whole damn world, to come dance with me.” It’s an understated vocal song (and album) that goes perfect with the harmonies tossed in and mellow accompaniment.
“That’s What’s Up” (such an awesome title) is the second track and it’s fantastic. It’s got a 50s Beach Boys-esque guitar sound paired with an interesting writing style that repeats “You be the _____, I’ll be the _______.” It has such a simple message, “Love goes on forever.
Yeah, love it is our home…Yeah, That’s what’s up!” Religion is also a theme that pervades the album in “I Don’t Wanna Pray”, a song about loving your god, but not wanting to pray, and “Dear Believer”. The latter track, which is the album’s best sounds like an modern musical take on “Octopus’s Garden”, but lyrically it’s a great song that claims “reaching for heaven is what we’re on Earth to do.”
“One Love to Another” is remarkably like “One Love” is an awesome way that hearkens back to the hey-day of reggae and Bob Marley. “Mayla” is an incredible song that consists of understated 5 part harmonies throughout and great instrumentals behind them. It’s an atmospheric track that really adds another level and type of music to an already solid album.
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros have already ingratiated themselves to indie fans everywhere and, while old fans may be a bit put off by this new album, more fans are sure to follow. Creating a record that belong in the 60s, like actually belongs in the 60s is a feat, and Edward Sharpe and the gang have done a remarkable job with Here.