Sometimes you just want to get back to basics. Here, the new album by Edward Sharp and The Magnetic Zeros lets you do just that. The band is easy, breezy, country- bluegrass with simple and approachable lyricism, devoid pretension and/shock value. The result is blissfully calm and endlessly delightful.
The acoustic “Man on Fire” sets the mood for the rest of the album with soft guitars, light beats and soothing vocals enhanced – ever so slightly – with occasional but light synth, drumming and choir-like backup; the female vocalists add a sort of folklore/communal vibe to the already grounded style. Think of 1960’s San Francisco with flower power and the whole shebang.
A slight change of pace rolls around with “That’s What’s Up,” a playful bluegrass tune. The track begins with a tall tale of abandoned love to be found again, but more heartfelt than heartbreaking. The women in the band did a fantastic job making the song light and thoroughly enjoyable; the solo over group clapping in particular was boss. It’s old country, circa 1950’s.
“I Don’t Wanna Pray” is a great song on many levels. First, it has a sweet melody. Secondly, the lyrics have a good personal take on prayer and spirituality; the narrator does not want to pray to his maker preferring to communicate with him through nature. Third, there is a peaceful, positive and upbeat quality to the song. The banjo adds a nice touch, as does the simple percussion.
The first really noticeable electric guitars make an appearance on “Mayla” which features a softer start, with humming- type group singing. The soft, easy and calm tone makes me think of waiting for horizons to see the early rise sunshine. Cheesy, I know. Life affirming electric guitars chime throughout but never overpower the track while acoustic guitars keep the pace nice and slow while the trumpet comes in for a few seconds for emphasis. There is something strangely familiar about this track but I can’t put my finger on it.
Complex percussion changes the game at the start of “Dear Believer” over Ebert’s voice. The entire track pick up towards the middle of the song with wind instruments and more aggressive drumming solidifying the groove but keeps away from being wild or loud. “Child” features softer than soft vocals over bewildering smooth guitars start off like a lullaby; like a quiet story telling. It’s super mellow.
“One Love to Another” features nice percussion, excellent bass, breezy wind instruments and communal style singing make this the perfect beach song and relaxation anthem. It is overall hands down awesome.
On “Fiya Wata” you can really hear the talented singing of the female vocalists despite the presence of drums, long sounding notes and piano. The track itself seems raw in delivery but more produced in quality. The electric guitars add spice to the super pleasant album. Last but not least is “All Wash Out” with Ebert’s vocals reaching a new pitch. Additional whistling over sweet guitar work give the track a nice depth as the slow but lovely beat carries you away
If you want sick beats with loud guitars and danceable melodies to rock out to, Do Not Buy This Album. On the other hand, if mellow yellow is how you roll, Do Buy The Album. Maybe what gives Here its unusual appeal is the way the vocals are never too aggressive, or, perhaps its the gentle but firm lyricism of the composers. Listen to “I Don’t Wanna Pray” again. Regardless of what part takes ownership of the album’s appeal, it is a much-needed breath of fresh air in a world enveloped by electronic music.
4.25 Out of 5
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