Criticizing a follow-up album for falling victim to the sophomore slump has become just about as cliché as a band inevitably having one. So let’s get this out of the way. Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros’ second album Here is sitting tall. So much so, no one in the band can seem to stay seated. If anything, Edward Sharpe and his band of zeros have come up from below, and at the surface are better than ever. And let’s just be frank, they’ve made it loud and clear they’re simply out to spread some love and couldn’t care less what your, and definitely not my, opinion is anyways. How could you fault them for that?
There is a chemistry and simplistic morality to Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros that roped their cult following in with the swift spin of the 2010 single “Home.” Alexander Ebert and Jade Castrinos lead the band of ten modern-day misfits singing to one another with heads very high into the clouds. Whether they are band mates, partners, or best friends, they force one another into the center stage of mutual glances while the rest of the band falls away. And there is no shortage of this dynamic on Here. The second chapter of “Home” reads like, “That’s What’s Up.” Ebert and Castrinos gleefully praise to one another, “I’ll be the sun/ You be the shining/ You be the clock/ I’ll be the timing/…/No matter what/ You’ve got my love to lean on darlin’/ That’s what’s up.” “Home” and “That’s What’s Up” echo one another in using simplistic composition and lyrics to pay tribute to the obvious affection of how willingly Ebert and Castrinos compliment each other. Castrinos also seems to excel more in grasping the lead with her powerhouse vocals in the track, which is ultra-charming.
In my opinion, “Fiya Wata,” stands out as Here’s best and most unexpected track. It’s so different from the pre-definition of Edward Sharpe, and it gives Castrinos another chance to showcase her passionate vocals and prove she doesn’t necessarily need Alexander’s lead. It’s a strong contender for the single she would release had she, instead, released the solo side project. The first single, “Man on Fire,” opens the album with Ebert leading a declaration, “With one guitar/ Two dancing feet/ Only one desire/ Come dance with me.” Ebert seems to come to terms with his less-heavy outlook on God and religion in, “I Don’t Wanna to Pray.” The album flows from one track to the next visiting roots in Folk, Blues, and Acoustic genres all packed with jump-out-of-your-seat positive energy.
Home is like the unrelenting and ultimately delightful hymnal of a church praising the deity Edward Sharpe, where the congregation tampers in the psychedelic to avoid the weight of unnecessary reality. As a whole, it is sure to endure criticism for remaining primitive in nature, but the band and fans don’t seem at all wanting for anything more.
1. Man On Fire
2. That’s What’s Up
3. I Don’t Wanna Pray
5. Dear Believer
7. One Love to Another
8. Fiya Wata
9. All Wash Out