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Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros: Up From Below

by on September 20, 2010

8.7/10 (Future Classic)

Who wouldn’t want to cry tears of euphoric joy, I know I would. Well, that’s exactly what you’ll experience seeing Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros live! (Props to Lollapalooza for that quote!). If you are not fortunate enough to experience the Zeros live, you should settle for Up From Below, it’s not one to miss!It feels like as time goes on, as bands come closer to the the limelight, their names get weirder and weirder; this wasn’t any different for the case of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. I admit that the first time I heard the Zeros’ name I was not impressed, it just didn’t click. I know, I know, and I’m sorry for ever doubting them, I am now a full fledged believer in the band and the name!

For any of those people out there who were like me, take a listen to Up From Below and then tell me your not a believer in the awesome powers of Ed Sharpe & the Zeros. The album is constructed in such a way that the concept of album “production” is perfectly obscured. The album starts with “40 Day Dream” and instantly you understand what I mean; the record sounds as if ten annonymous hippies hopped on a homemade stage in the middle of a field, high off of life and weed, and just played, unknowingly creating musical gold.

Up From Below is reminiscent of a better time in music, the time of The Mamas and The Papas, of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, and yet, as music tends to do, it is also perfectly acsseible to todays youth, it is a music that speaks as much to them as to the youth of yore. But this does not address one key issue…what, or who, is Edward Sharpe, and where did this band come from? “Edward Sharpe is the lead singer of the band Sonic, obviously!” Wrong.

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros consists of Alex Ebert (lead vocals, guitar, piano, etc.), Tay Strathairn (piano, vocals), Aaron Older (bass, vocals, banjo), Josh Collazo (drums/percussion, vocals), Christian Letts (guitar, vocals), Nora Kirkpatrick (accordion, vocals), Orpheo McCord (percussion, vocals), Nico Aglietti (synth/keyboards, vocals), Jade Castrinos (vocals, guitar), and Stewart Cole (trumpet, vocals). Ten people, all playing key roles in the music they produce, but none play a more “important” role than one Alex Ebert, the founder of Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, along with Jade Castrinos; and here is where we get to who Edward Sharpe is.

As Ebert explains it, Edward Sharpe is whoever you want him to be, but in basic terms, Edward Sharpe is a messiah of sorts, coming down from heaven to good upon mankind and the Earth. Unfortunately, Sharpe losses his way as beautiful she-devils entangle him in situation after situation. Perhaps a little passive-aggression coming from Ebert, who had, prior to the band, broken up with his girlfriend.

Whatever the case, Up From Below is a rare album indeed, it is not quite anthem rock but it is definitely anthem-esque, perhaps folk? A sort of laid-back, Californified Arcade Fire, who are more hippish, and seem like a cult…You definitely want to check these guys out, they are going places. Many might disagree with my rating of this album, although it’s an 8.7, it could be higher; people would be justified with that argument. My belief is that this album will become a future classic, but it needs to time to ferment, to sit in the sun if you will. Until this album has spent more time out there it will remain as it is, a freakin’ amazing album to start off, what will be, a great run of a great band.

*Gems: “Dessert Song”, “40 Day Dream”, “Home”, “Come In Please”

“40 Day Dream”


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