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CD review: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ ‘Here’

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Annie Zaleski

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Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Here
Three and a half stars

To naysayers, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros are a parody of the peace-and-love hippie movement. Willowy frontman Alex Ebert (who also fronts neo-new-wave act Ima Robot) fully inhabits the role of bearded mystical shaman, while the troupe of musicians surrounding him are gypsy-like free spirits.

Still, the collective’s utter sincerity—and the infectious simplicity of their shambolic orchestral folk, as heard on 2010 hit “Home”—make this shtick believable. The group’s second full-length, Here, doesn’t have a song as concise or catchy as that one, but it’s still a joyful, spiritual celebration, far from retro rehash. Besides the expected nods to ’60s rock, Here touches on gospel-tinged reggae (“One Love to Another”), droll British folk (the horn-driven “Dear Believer”), smoldering soul (“That’s What’s Up”) and Stones-y burnt-out pop (the searing “Fiya Wata”). Ebert frequently channels the understated delivery of Lou Reed or Bob Dylan, which adds further gravitas and helps Here feel emotionally substantial.

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