Melodic folk arrangements, strong, distinct vocals and a strong communal sensibility make this record a cathartic experience.

Three years after the release of their first record Up From Below, and having escaped the ‘second album syndrome’ with ease, this 11-piece folk outfit is back with its self-titled third effort.

Rustic authenticity and Edward Sharpe go together like bread and butter, whether they’re jamming together on their tour bus or conjuring up a storm on stage. You could deprive them of their instruments and they would still make music.

Edward Sharpe’s frontman Alex Ebert described the tracks on the new record as some of the, “rawest, most liberated, most rambunctious stuff” they have yet done, and he’s not wrong.

Opener ‘Better Days’ is an optimistic, feel-good track full of vocal harmonising and pounding percussion, while ‘Let’s Get High’, ‘Two’ and ‘Please!’ revisit the themes of life and love explored on their previous albums. ‘Country Calling’ is a boisterous number, with a soundscape consisting of horns, trumpets and thumping percussion.

Every Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros album has one track that churns up your emotions, and on this album it’s, ‘This Life’. It’s raw and powerful, showcasing Ebert’s vocals – the ragged pain in his voice works in harmony with the band’s gospel backing, giving it a stirring emotional potency.

4/5 stars


Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zerosis out now through Create/Control.

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