Published Apr 13, 2016Ten-piece folk-rock group Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros are letting go of their fictional messianic leader with PersonA. Edward Sharpe's dramatic crossing out on the album covers alludes to the band's progression towards a new era, in which they continue to embrace the '60s psychedelic and folk highlights they do so well while producing a fuller, nearly orchestral sound.
Opening track "Hot Coals" tickles the piano keys and features tempo change-ups to complement singer Alex Ebert's aggressive lyricism as he hits on the pains and pleasures of love, pleading, "Stay the fuck in my heart." The emotional "Uncomfortable" has a Nina Simone edge to it, and the political and religious commentary throughout plays on the progressive, protesting vibe of the '60s in a way that the Magnetic Zeros have never really done before. Elsewhere, though, "No Love Like Ours" maintains the romantic, cutesy vibe of their big hit, "Home," that made the band famous.
On "Wake Up the Sun," Ebert employs a trilling, whispery singing style littered as he preaches a preference for the religion of love among mankind over that of Krishna, Jesus and Buddha as unified, joyous vocals and a celebratory horn section soar overhead. The band's optimism, paired with gospel musical styling and psychedelic crescendos, appear in nearly every song up until slow closer "The Ballad of Yaya."
PersonA is proof of the exemplary musicianship of Magnetic Zeros, and their ability to forge songs as rich lyrically as they are musically. (Community Music/Fontana North)