Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros deliver their second album, Here, with a gentle treatment of spiritual and festive cult-folk. Their debut, Up From Below, struck gold from the deep-blue nowhere. It was an unexpected gem of sunny psychedelia, with the swing and swagger of an old tent revival. And it is a tough album to follow. Their first record was catchier — the large ensemble was used to greater effect, the dynamic was more dramatic, and the collection was more diverse. That being said, this album has plenty of moments and, in fact, has a bit more of a focused sound.
At times the lyrics are a little uneven in their poetic aim. In “Dear Believer‚” Alexander Ebert sings, “Anger anger, you’re finally my bitch‚” but later in the song he delivers a line with more tact and grace: “I don’t mind chasing thunder, I say reaching for heaven is what I’m about to do.”
The band sounds comfortable as they move through the mellow breeze of this record. “Mayla” has some lovely guitar work, playful bass, and delicate group vocals. The album’s opener “Man on Fire” would fit well on the first record, but as good a song as it is, the lyrics at times fall into some hippie clichés: “I want the whole damn world to come dance with me.” "That’s What’s Up” has the Jade/Alexander shared leads of their earlier hit “Home‚” but it falls short in the sugary allure of its predecessor, like Here, which is a strong record outshined by the potent nature of its older brother.
- Album: Here
- Artist: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
- Label: Rough Trade
- Songs: (1) Man on Fire (2) That's What's Up (3) I Don't Wanna Pray (4) Mayla (5) Dear Believer (6) Child (7) One Love to Another (8) Fiya Wata (9) All Wash Out