by Hope Miller
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros has always seemed like a summertime kind of band to me, so I think that the release of their sophomore album, entitled Here, came at the perfect moment in the year.
The Los Angeles-based band’s sound on Here is similar to their first album, but also has more spiritual undertones and an almost hokey quality at times. The third track on the album, “I Don’t Wanna Pray,” sounds a lot like a 1960s gospel song. Which totally usually isn’t my style, but somehow the 11-member ensemble pulls it off in a pretty charming way.
The album takes an eerie turn at times, but always bounces back sounding bright and cheery. No song is entirely dark and brooding; the band’s upbeat tendencies always shine through before a song ends.
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros have a knack for making their 11 members sound like 1,100, as evidenced by tracks like “Mayla.” And this ability to make a handful of people sound like a full-fledged choir only adds to the gospel-esque quality of Here.
But hands down, the interaction between the members is my favorite thing about this band; it makes you feel like you’re listening in on a family jam session without them knowing. It was my favorite aspect of the first album, Up From Below, and I wish they had utilized the back and forth banter just a little bit more on Here.
None of the tracks on Here are as memorable as “Home” from their first album, but there also wasn’t a single song that I disliked. I think “That’s What’s Up” could easily become the top song of the album, but “Fiya Wata” is my favorite because of its deep soulfulness. All in all, Here a feel-good, mostly whimsical album, perfect to listen to while driving on a sunny Tucson day, casually reading a book, or kicking back and drinking a couple beers with friends. If you liked the first album, it’s pretty likely that you’ll enjoy hearing Here.