It must be a double edged sword for any band to have a huge hit on their first record. For Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros, back in 2009 the song "Home" eclipsed everything else that year. It found its way into movies, television shows, an enormous amount of YouTube cover videos and everyone's heads. The collective is back with their sophomore release Here, and many people will probably listen to it hoping to hear another "Home." There's no way of knowing yet, but what the album does give us is a more introspective Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros digging into their spiritual side.
The new album finds the band exploring and melding genres. Since 2009 they've added two permanent members to the line-up, with eight additional touring support members. It creates a full and orchestrated feel to the band, while not detracting from the DIY feel of Up From Below. With so many different perspectives and instruments, collective leader Alex Ebert has his hands full trying to keep everything balanced. He manages to succeed on songs like "All Wash Out" where the elements reach an easy equilibrium. The multiple guitars take even levels, with almost inaudible keys and lap steel in the background that builds up to a rushing crescendo of horns and drums, but all of it with the ease of waves falling across a sea shore.
The album falls flat on some of the more experimental tracks. Reggae soul song "One Love To" seems a little forced and derivative and "Fiya Wata" has backing vocalist Jade Castrinos taking lead to underwhelming results.
Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros are hit or miss on the latest album Here so we'll have to wait and see if a "hit" emerges from the album. But from the looks of it, the musical collective isn't too worried about what people think about their music. They're just happy to get on the road and bring their music and message to the masses.