Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros pack Henry Miller – and the stage – in Big Sur.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ music is immense, like the desert T.E. Lawrence journeys across in Lawrence of Arabia. So it’s no surprise that it often takes as many as 12 musicians to create a sound that at times recalls the raucous instrumental ensemble of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Guitarist Christian Letts loves playing in a group that large. “Sonically, it’s amazing,” he says.
Known for traveling in a large school bus and looking like they just wandered off of a hippie commune, the indie-folk outfit’s Up From Below is an explosion of well-orchestrated, grandiose listening pleasure with singers Alex Ebert, aka Edward Sharpe (former singer of Ima Robot), and Jade Castrinos at its core. The couple sings back and forth to each other with endearing affection and lyrics that ooze honesty. Ebert sounds like a refined meshing of Neil Diamond and Bruce Springsteen, which contrasts nicely with Castrinos’ childlike but charming delivery.
“Home” – a poncho-wearing love song guided by a chorus of whistles – displays the couple’s sentiments in a middle-of-the-song spoken story: “While you were in the back seat smoking a cigarette… I was falling deep, deep, deeply in love with you.”
The music carries a cinematic feel throughout the album. In fact, Letts says that was one of the initial attractions he had to the band.
“Alex called me over to his house four years ago and played me a song [from the album] and I could see a movie going along with it like a score,” he says. “I knew it was really special.”