Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros - Up From Below (2009)


LA band Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros are a ten-piece folk-rock band with one foot firmly in the past. Up From Below is recorded onto a 1979 24-track tape machine, which greatly assists in the band's pursuit of California's musical heritage. This review could probably begin and end with the query: do you like Dr. Dog? Because if you do enjoy that band's retro, Laurel Canyon sound, then Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros offer a neat alternative, expanding on that '70s FM rock vibe with hints at big-band grandeur and occasionally quite rowdy barroom delivery. '40 Day Dream', for example, is like Arcade Fire taking on something from Devendra Banhart's Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon, while elsewhere tracks like 'Om Nashi Me' goes a bit Polyphonic Spree in its epic hippie evocations. There are some great arrangements on here, and Up From Below is undoubtedly a very beautifully recorded album, but there's always a danger that the actual songs themselves get crowded out of the equation by all the heavy styling.-Boomkat

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