There is a timeless, communal sensibility listeners can lose themselves in while reveling in the third LP release from Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, that congregation of merry music-makers led by Alex Ebert and Jade Castrinos.
Flower child flair is a trademark of the popular indie folk rockers, who are best known for the whistling trumpets and whimsical banter of their biggest hit, Home.
In the 12 tracks on their new self-titled album, which came out July 23, the high-spirited troop has perfected their blend of groovy Southern soul and airy '70s rock callbacks after being together for six years.
However, perfection can be boring, and the new release crosses that divide a few times throughout. But then Castrinos uses her soulful vocal, or a jangly melody with a novel lyric interrupts a familiar harmony, and the listener is reminded of the sophisticated subtleties that make the 11-member band stand out.
The group creates a new age-meets-vintage effect on one of the album's gems, Two, which encapsulates the spirit of lead singers Ebert and Castrinos' musical movement. Two is all about celebrating unity and love with raw lyrics that ride on a rambling wave of good vibes. Springing guitars, shimmering tambourines, ambient hoots and hand clapping are just a sampling of the instrumental cacophony backing the duo.
The band shares the acknowledgement with listeners that their sound derives from another time with lyrics like, "Time and my name melt away / Like the stars and songs of yesterday / Like the melody you can't recall / but the harmonies you've felt them all."
Like the musicality, the cohesive lyrics that radiate throughout the album are timeless, giving the impression that simple messages of peace, love, joy and healing are applicable to our world right now.
Tracks like Better Days, Life is Hard, Please! and If I Were Free evoke the influences of Bob Dylan, the Beatles and the Mamas and Papas, with revelations about the need to overcome the challenges of modern life through positive communion with one another.
It is appropriate that Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros' third album is its self-titled. The band began in 2007 as a result of happenstance collaboration. After six years of performing fiery live shows together and two albums, the collaborators are now a tribe with an unapologetic cause to create love through music.
Amber McDonald can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8839.