Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros - Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros

If their sky-facing euphoria and sentimentality can’t be matched then the whole thing can be terribly nauseating.

Label: Gentlemen of the Road

Rating: 6

Praise The Lord! Crack the windows wide! Let the sunshine in! It’s a beautiful new day and there is no place for the sceptical, cynical or critical. Don’t hold back; bounce off the front door step and blurt a chipper ‘Morning!’ to the slack-jowled misery next door - hell, why not even slip him a cup of Tate & Lyle – because life is great. The dazzling glint from those brash pearly whites could blind, but who gives a stuff when the soundtrack is something so ridiculously glorious it could lure the psychologically unhinged down from bridge barriers (or be the final straw depending on their disposition for sugary nostalgia). At least, that’s the feeling ‘Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros’, the self-titled new album from LA’s roving, free-spirited collective, evokes - and quite rightly too, considering they fill a Phil Spector-ish echo chamber with 60s choral harmonies, loose rhythms and, of course, messianic leader Alex Ebert’s dizzying preacher schtick.

From the get-go, it’s a ripe replacement for Shreddies or an effervescent drink. First single, ‘Better Days’, is the sort of enlightening dawn chorus that looks across the land with rose-tinted specs, breathes in the freshly crisp air and rejoices from inside a pair of linen harems. It’s The Ronettes fronted by Mama Cass, if their hypothetical collaboration was used to make cinema goers disregard their lap-balanced popcorn, rise to their feet and pump the air at the climax of Forrest Gump’s Vietnam speech. Needless to say, it’s Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros in a nutshell, here.

Of course, as with any such unrelentingly blissful formula, if their sky-facing euphoria and sentimentality can’t be matched then the whole thing can be terribly nauseating. ‘Let’s Get High’ could be the moment some claw for Ctrl+Alt+Delete and, in fairness, it is a near-cacophonous piece of pomp, like T. Rex’s ‘Teenage Dream’ if Marc Bolan had given the session musicians the wrong song sheets. During its downward slope, various members repeatedly cry “man in the mirror” as it inevitably descends into a rambling mess, with ingénue and frontwoman, Jade Castrinos, sounding like a cat lady on the edge of insanity. But still, despite how easy it is to discredit ‘Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros’, it still holds a certain warmth that endears rather than averts; its blemishes becoming part of the allure.

Like 2012’s ‘Here’, this doesn’t hit the excellent ‘Up From Below’’s heights, but among the slightly more restrained cuts (‘They Were Wrong’, ‘This Life’), which recall Ebert’s solo work on ‘Alexander’, there’s enough to warrant leaving any overly-discerning tendencies at the door and forgive them their obvious flaws.