‘PersonA’ by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros Album Review: Contradictions And New Directions
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros return with their fourth studio album and first after the departure of founding member Jade Castrinos from the band. The period of transformation is reflected in their sound.
‘PersonA’ by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros Album Review
Catchy and straightforward in its simplicity, “No Love Like Yours” offers a heartfelt confession with some sonic resemblance to earlier uplifting sound of their previous self-titled album. The incessant layering of bright harmonies allows for an easygoing buildup to the vocally rich chorus. The earnestness of this track as well as its catchy hook easily make it one of the most outstanding tracks on the record and a certain staple of a playlist to sing along to all summer, which is not something that can be said about most of the rest of album.
“Wake Up The Sun” is the misleadingly bright title of the song about doubting religion and faith that follows. The massive gospell-like choir vocals on this track matches to a certain extent the grandeur of its themes. Musically, it is quirky and elevating, but thematically it remains grounded in simplicity of proclaiming love as the ultimate religion, and yet it is not an endlessly and unerringly optimistic. It is this duplicity of sentiments – the simultaneous scepticism and affirmation – that is proving to be a successful new formula for the indie-folk band.
For the most part, PersonA deliberately takes a step away from the blind optimism of former records. The sound, though often in a major key, is no longer as uplifting; in fact, it is arguably more somber and down-to-earth, which makes the variety of themes and emotions even more truthful and relatable. PersonA feels like an almost desperate search for an authentic voice, and this is what makes it so sonically exciting. Each song is different from the previous, though clearly originating from the same place. Thematically, the album offers us variations on love, conflict and personal discord.
Ultimately, PersonA is grounded in a sense of realism and self-reflection without the inflated hopefulness of previous albums, which makes it all the more appealing. There is a certain switching of gears perhaps in a wiser, more mature and multifaceted direction – one that is certain to further expand their capabilities and acclaim.
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