Published Dec 05, 2010If there's one band that can save humanity, it's Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros. The ten-person pack of enthusiastic, unabashed hippies turned the Mod Club into a love-in, albeit a short-lived one. By now, every track from 2009s Up From Below has become a crowd pleaser, but the onstage hugging, high-fives and lyrical improvisation kept them from going stale.
The adorably elusive Jade Castrinos shared lead vocal duty with eccentric frontman Alex Ebert on "Janglin," a pleasant surprise given her tendency to stick to back-up vocals and tambourine playing. On "Home," the whistle-laden love song the band are best known for, the two real-life lovers crooned back and forth to one another, but Castrinos stole the show with the newly released "Fire & Water," a transcendental channelling of the summer of love if ever there was one.
Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros have found a way to combine guilelessness and performance, without compromising either. Case in point: Stewart Cole's perfectly timed trumpet interventions, Castrinos's soft suggestions that Ebert take the mic back from the audience after surveying them for good stories to tell, and the group hugs she received after enrapturing "Fire & Water." It's during moments like these and show opener "40 Day Dream" that the sincerity of this band becomes undeniable. There's nothing artificial about their "make love, not war" message. If the lyrics don't convince you of the substance behind their style, the fact that Ebert had an entire venue sitting cross-legged around him on the floor singing "Brother" should.