Alexander Ebert, front man for both Ima Robot and Edward
Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeroes, has been on the peripherals for
the last decade. Writing and recording under his infamous alter-ego
Edward Sharpe, his 2009 hit "Home" (cultivated by the addition
of his band The Magnetic Zeroes), brought Ebert into recent light.
Since riding this wave of fame, Ebert has shed the alternative skin
and released a solo record, intimate and naked, with the appropriate
and nonchalant title of Alexander. It comes as no surprise
to find that when Ebert removes the "magnetic zeroes" and
the "Edward Sharpe," he ends up with the expected residue
- a collection of psychedelic folk songs, steeped in peace, love,
and probably Mother Nature's own little addition. Alexander
is a compilation of home-grown tracks that were probably lying around,
in between projects and tours, car seats and dirty laundry, that Ebert
felt compelled enough to compile. And let's be thankful he did. The
album's ten tracks might remind listeners of anthems from 50 years
before; Alexander sounds like it emerged from the midst of
folk music's spawning era. There's the quintessential lo-fi glaze
for folk authenticity, though perhaps not as much as other singer-songwriter
contemporaries (recall how Devendra Banhart recorded into his
friend's answering machine). Ebert isn't pushing boundaries with this
self-titled release - nor have his music endeavors ever been those
to question the current state of pop music. Play this to your mom
and pop and expect to hear stories.
Alexander is comprised of joyful and simple tunes, melodies
and lyrics that beg to be played during moments of rejoicing. It is
this free-loving haze that makes "Into The Twilight" and
"A Million Years" sound like Pete Seeger's rendition
of "We Shall Overcome." These tunes were meant to unify,
to be shared communally, and thus listening to Alexander alone
feels almost sacrilegious. The album's lighter tunes, such as "Glimpses"
and "Truth" are personal scripts that evoke an occasion
head-bob of understanding. Still, it is evident that Ebert had no
road map for Alexander. The track list feels as if it was drawn
out of a magic hat and the acoustic singer-songwriter approach makes
one wonder why these songs were released under a new project name.
Despite a lack of direction or any thematic significance, Alexander
is cogent and honest. What we hear is what we get, and here we witness
the creative underpinnings of a character so eccentric and peculiar,
it is often difficult to remind ourselves that underneath the mysticism
and folklore, he is indeed, just human.
- Parker Tichko
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