Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, 'Up From Below' (Vagrant)

7
Up From Below
Critical Mass
Label: Vagrant

by Chris Martins

Los Angeles' Magnetic Zeros suffered some guff over first impressions. Not only did the 11-piece hippie-folk ensemble appear out of thin air (apparent time-travelers, sporting '60s garb and analog equipment), but bandleader Alex Ebert experienced an improbable rebirth: from glammy lead yelper of slick synth rockers' Ima Robot into "Edward Sharpe," a long-maned messianic shaman. Moonlighting or not, the band hits upon some real magic, resulting in joyously orchestral clap-alongs like "40 Day Dream" and intimate Laurel Canyon fare like "Brother," a tribute to the band's friend and benefactor, Heath Ledger. Best of all is "Home," which captures the Magnetic Zeros' love-one-another ethos without a whiff of irony. Let the conversions begin.

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