One can imagine the dozen or so members of this LA band (lead by Ima Robot's Alex Ebert) meeting at some chill key party in the hills. All the men are bearded, tan, shirtless. All the women are hot in that come-hither hippy kind of way. After hours engaged in some fantastic unself-conscious orgy, the gang passing around a couple of post-coital jays, it suddenly occurs to someone it might be fun to, like, jam?
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes' look isn't far from that dream, but this is not to say their debut EP is sexual, or slipshod. On Up From Below, they make oversized co-ed cathartic choral sing-alongs that call to mind the Arcade Fire and the Polyphonic Spree. Indeed, these three songs are as infectious as either of those bands' most exuberant, ebullient efforts. And with a Southland attitude updating their more northerly predecessors' take on group-living-style anthemic indie rock, it's the perfect summer soundtrack — for a lounging-poolside-at-your-Laurel-Canyon-home-circa-1968 kind of summer.
There's more than the specter of Phil Spector in the wall-of-sound toe-tappers "40 Day Dream" and "Janglin," and certain undeniable throw-back qualities that will be traced to Sixties- and Seventies-era folk rock/psychedelia. What's refreshing is that the music doesn't seem aware of this reference. It just sorta hangs there, spread out on the couch like a contented houseguest. The soupy-thick songs are overpopulated with vocal ticks. Hoots, whistles, "yeah-yeahs" and "oo-ahs" are dispensed amid soaring strings, brass flourishes, and snare hits that slap and crash like the sea. It's a chorus of happy hippies stomping and laughing, singing, one love/one touch/carries on, like they mean it. You almost believe it does. (Community Music/Fairfax Recordings)
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