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Edward Sharpe & the magnetic zeroes - The return of the cosmic earth mother and the collective need for universal love
on 23 November 2009
We are in serious hippie folk land here a place where I have to admit I am not entirely comfortable. Indeed Rough Trades latest prodigy are the type of bearded ex miscreants who never managed to catch the return bus from Glastonbury and have spent a little to much time failing to cook their mushrooms.
But don't let this put you off, indeed check them out doing a version of "Home" on Letterman's show on You Tube and I dare you not to enjoy it. Jolly good fun and what Paul Merton once described as "bonkers in the nut". Rolling Stone has described their stage appearances as "shamanistic tent revivals more than rock concerts". Perhaps I should stop at this point since I am not making a very good case here.
So what do ESAMZ have going for them and how good is Up From Below? For a start Sharpe (aka Alex Ebert who looks like an extra from the Life of Brian) is the best whistler since Andrew Bird and I must admit that I am thinking of calling for a Roger Whittaker revival since I am becoming such a fan of the "Two lipped and teeth" harmonica.
Who then are Edward Sharpe et al? The Rough Trade website tells us with no sense of irony that "this musical collective led by Alex Ebert make big, open-hearted anthems that evoke a different era when cynicism didn't course through pop music like countermelodies. The band's aesthetic, no matter how contemporary and organic its evolution, screams '60s psychedelia and '70s boho-rock right down to touring in a converted school bus with the band's name in script on the side and a driver named Cornfed" This is clearly written by someone taking a Poetry A Level but at the same time it is all a bit tongue in cheek like the band itself.
The music alternatively is the most enjoyable I have heard since Elvis Perkins cut his last track on this years "In Dearland" album. Standouts include the aforementioned country soul whistling stomp "Home" featuring Ebert and girlfriend/singer Jade Castrinos, singing about their uninhibited love for each other. It starts with off the immortal line probably intended to offend those of a redneck persuasion that -
I do love my ma and pa,
Not the way that I do love you".
Other highlights are the superb "40 Day Dream" which doesn't half sound like Elton John mixed with the Arcade Fire. The "high grade epic psychedelia" that is Desert Song. The lovely "Black Water" and the genuinely weird but fun "Om Nashi me" and frankly daft "Janglin". I have no idea what this is about and don't care. All I know is that my cat stared hard at me when I played it.
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Seriously, they are gonna be huge particularly around campfires.