Song Of The Day

Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros: Kindness And Clamor

Friday's Pick

  • Song: "Home"
  • Artist: Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros
  • CD: Up From Below
  • Genre: Folk-Rock

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros' appeal defies documentation, let alone description. On paper, the group doesn't sound instantly appealing — a hippie version of Arcade Fire with 10 members and a dreadlocked, frequently shirtless frontman? — but it's not much easier to capture its appeal on a silver disc or a digital file.

ESMZ new photo i i

hide captionEdward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros' "Home" does a lovely job of conveying the whimsical affection at the 10-piece group's core.

courtesy of the artist
ESMZ new photo

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros' "Home" does a lovely job of conveying the whimsical affection at the 10-piece group's core.

courtesy of the artist

See the band live, though, and it's another story: The group is absolutely beloved in the L.A. press right now, which has everything to do with the fact that L.A. is where the group has been playing concerts. A madly joyous clatter, the Magnetic Zeros' sound radiates the feverish intensity of a revival show, but with a loving relationship at its center: Singers Edward Sharpe (a.k.a. Alex Ebert) and Jade Castrinos sing to each other with the winning warmth of Johnny and June Carter Cash, and that counts for a lot.

The band's short recording career — its full-length debut, Up From Below, just came out — has been spottier, albeit aided by a series of adventurous videos. Confined to a studio, Sharpe and company can't help but seem flattened out by comparison, yet "Home" still does a lovely job of conveying the whimsical affection at the group's core.

Once listeners get past the occasional bit of cornpone, a giant dose of good-heartedness kicks in: The couplet "Alabama, Arkansas / I do love my ma and pa" may be a groaner, until Castrinos adds, "Not the way that I do love you." As the song grows more clamorous and kind, it gets catchier, too, building to a freewheeling celebration rooted in unmistakable affection. It sounds terrific here, but when it's blown out in 360-degree live performance, "Home" is enough to make even the tiniest heart grow three sizes.

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This story originally ran on July 10, 2009.

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  • Album: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
  • Artist: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
  • Released: 2009
 

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