REVIEW: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – Here

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Artist: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Album: Here
Label: Vagrant

Here is the thing about reviews; they’re total bullshit. They are nothing more than a 500 word rants consisting mostly of buzz words and left zingers, tossed out in hopes of gathering attention for the writer, not the band. Any one person with at least one working finger can fill the internet with overblown opinions on why banjos are more important than guitars or why there should be trumpets on every album. In the grand scale they’re just one person’s guess at the intentions of a group of strangers who happen to have instruments.

That said, there is no telling if Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros are candid in their sound. Bear in mind that this is in no way a reflection of the band themselves, but more the industry that they call home. Encompassed by a scene that has made the word throwback as popular as Pepsi has, it borders on impossible to tell which bands actually own Marvin Gaye records and which bands are just being hipster ironic. As stated before, authenticity in music is a mystery.

What is extremely clear is that Here is absolutely not about to punch anyone in the face. It isn’t intense. It isn’t epic. Hell, it is barely present. There is distinct possibility that it might not even get noticed. Passive in its approach, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros have created an album so mellow it wobbles closely to the dreaded kiss of death of being deemed background music. Rumors throughout the internet imply that this is an intentional move with plans to release a second, more sparkly album in late 2012. With any truth, this shouldn’t be too difficult considering how reserved Here truly is. I’ve seen BBC documentaries with more pop than this album. Devoid of any real single and lacking the hooks that made Up From Below a runaway hit, the band seems willing to either turn its back on the sound fans desire or have struck the sophomore wall in terms of their ability to recreate it.

Here is not a total write off. With lingering moments of Jim Croce and Johnny and June Carter Cash peaking through, the album allows glimpses of brilliance. This is noted flawlessly in the album’s opener, “Man On Fire.” Alex Ebert’s deep raspy vocals recall Memphis during the Sun Records movement. However, the album seems to stumble downward from there. While their hippie based grooves and soothing 70’s folk riffs are as effective as they can be, they struggle to be striking or memorable. The white knuckle grip with which “Home” clutched the masses has been replaced with a simple feeling of going through the motions. Put simply, effective is not the same as epic.

Unless you’re a die hard fan, skip this cut. My advice, commit your funds to Ebert’s other project Ima Robot.

Score: 5/10
Review written by: Joshua Hammond

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  • ricky

    lame review per usual by this dude

  • Thanks for being part of the fan club man.

  • D.C.

    Personally, I really enjoy the witty comments and the personal touches this writer puts into his reviews. Regardless if one is in agreement with the opinion; it is easy get a sense for this writers love of music and to be entertained by what he has to say.

  • Shotninetimes

    I was floored by ES&MZ’s first album so was very excited for the release on this one. However, I received the same feeling as you on this album… it just seemed very generic and was wondering if others felt the same. Perhaps it is authentic, but it sure won’t move mountains.

  • fiyawata

    Bad advice by Joshua… this record is incredible, I love it more with each listen, as if that was even possible from the first. Music recycles itself, and though a lot of the record seems relevant to 40-50 years ago, it’s fucking refreshing right now. I also happen to know someone that is close with Alex Ebert, and he is not putting people on or exhibiting some ‘character’ with his music. It’s genuine, it’s fun, it’s simple and lovely.

  •  “I also happen to know someone that is close with Alex Ebert, and he is
    not putting people on or exhibiting some ‘character’ with his music.”

    I find this refreshing. As stated above, I didn’t say he was. I said the industry in which he works makes it hard for me to tell. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hope you are right.

  • This is exactly how I felt! Thank you!

  •  THIS! Thank you for this.