By Colin O’Neil
Here crafts a childlike ode to a life of peace
Here it is: the chaotic musical circus that is Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros has followed up on their breakthrough debut with Here. Led by frontman and founder Alex Ebert, known for his work in electro-rock group Ima Robot, the band brings familiar epics, soft Spanish love songs, and folk-rock jams in their newest offering. Though without a song to match the memorable “Home”, Here is consistent, solid, and most importantly, fun.
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros is a band that uses myth as often as they use harmonies and trumpet solos. Up From Below was released in 2008 with the accompaniment of cryptic online videos, which portrayed Edward Sharpe, played by Ebert, as a messiah-like figure who wandered the desert in search of peace, music and an understanding of his place in the world. In the mythical story designed by Ebert, Edward Sharpe had come to Earth with the mission of healing mankind, but was repeatedly distracted in his quest by girls. The humour of the myth aids to the mood of the music.
Both Up From Below and Here are loud, full, and musically layered deliveries of a peaceable and childish attitude about the world. Though more outspoken than they once were, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros remains shrouded in myth. From the group’s origins to their abnormal take on spontaneity and innocence, the music and the band both fascinate and bring laughter to your eardrums.
Here begins with the single “Man on Fire”, a simple song about creative output, dance, and learning. Like the rest of the record, it builds and falls with the aid of co-vocalist Jade Castrinos. The album only gets weirder and funkier. The Great Depression-era folk song “I Don’t Wanna Pray” addresses religion while bouncing along with background gospel singers and verses traded between Castrinos and Ebert. The soft “Maya” follows, revealing the band’s connection to Spanish guitar music and booming horns. The rest of the album is an orgy of trumpet solos, simple chords and the overarching theme of love.
Here offers more than its nine songs of solid musical creation. Amid its hippie notions of peace and love are appeals to the simple things in life. It urges those who may have forgotten to reconsider the value of a child’s mind, a child’s inhibitions and a child’s love. It delivers musically and succeeds in challenging our normative order. It makes us dance and think, and urges us to be here.