What the hell happened to Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes?
Seriously. What happened to that energetic, fun band that wrote that song that everyone has to have at their wedding? The one that was on Modern Family? They were good; they knew love. This band, whoever they are, seem to be as far removed from that wonderful band as Kiss is. Whereas that band was full of energy and hunger and sheer joy, this band is just depressing. In their first album since singer and long term band member Jade Castrinos left the band in 2014, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes reminds us that everything has its time and some things just aren’t meant to last forever. And that’s really sad.
Throughout ‘PersonA’ there’s a feeling of incoming doom, a disillusionment with belief (and dare I say ‘soul’). The lyrics mention theological topics a lot, and not in a way that is supportive or dismissive, just as a kind of metaphor. That’s not bad by itself – lots of musicians use religious metaphors to emphasise love or despair, but here it just feels empty. Based on the music, it’s obvious that the band wanted to come across as more mature, but in a lot of the songs here, with the way that the songs are written, it’s difficult to tell exactly why they wanted that.
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The songs aren’t necessarily bad, but there’s nothing to write home about here either. They’re nice is the best thing that you can say about them. ‘Hot Coals,’ the first song on the album, is hot and very atmospheric, but it’s also very long and meandering. Likewise, while ‘Uncomfortable’ has a lovely blues and soul thing going on, it never attempts anything more impressive than that. ‘Somewhere’ kinda reminds of ‘Here Comes the Sun’ but just doesn’t go anywhere. The best song on the album, without a doubt, is ‘Wake up the Sun.’ But while it’s Ennio Morricone-like melodies impress for a while, it goes a little bit too bombastic towards the end.
And that’s sad. While Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes have never been a band in the mainstream, they’ve never been a depressing band. And that’s what this is: a depressing, meandering record that makes you wonder if it’s time for this once great band to call it quits and go home.
‘PersonA’ is out now on Community Music Group LLC.
This Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes article was written by Ian Bailey, a GIGsoup contributor