Up From Below - Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
Up From Below Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 11 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 39 Ratings

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  • Summary: This is the debut album for the 11-piece indie rock band led by Alex Ebert.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 11
  2. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. Up From Below is an album to be commended, even if it might lead to the scourge of other hippie hipsters appearing in buses across the nation.
  2. This is intoxicating psych-indie for heady days in unbroken sunshine.
  3. 80
    They deliver a debut of confidence and conviction. [Oct 2009, p.112]
  4. 68
    Void of irony but sounding slightly inauthentic, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes hit the right notes but may be a little late to the revival. [Summer 2009, p.96]
  5. 60
    To be fair, Sharpe, a dramatic alter-ego for leader/singer Alex Ebert, does corral a few tunes infectious enough to last the distance on Broadway. [Sep 2009, p.90]
  6. Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros have crafted a love letter to Laurel Canyon and all of its quasi-mystic juju that is as infuriatingly contrived and retro as it is forward-thinking and majestic.
  7. Weird to say about a hippie, but it's humanity that's missing in Sharpe's mild but mannered and certainly unmemorable music, which feels focus-grouped, stone-washed, and artificial.

See all 11 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 6
  2. Negative: 1 out of 6
  1. Dec 4, 2010
    I think this is an excellent album. In fact, it's so good, I'm confused about the Pitchfork review that gave it 4.1 stars. Yes, I agree, Ebert has reemerged with a different style lead singer than he was with Ima Robot, but so what? How is this any different than the Beatles starting the 60's with a rather clean cut (if somewhat moppy-headed) aura and ending in the late 60's with long hair and beards, ushering in Eastern religion into the cultural milieu of the day? Big deal. People change. Artists change. Most lasting musicians reinvent themselves several times throughout their career. In fact, the mark of a musician that does typically last is his/her inability or unwillingness to reinvent his/her personal presentation. So now that we've gotten that out of the way, and we're facing the truth that musicians do actually make music to succeed, and in order to succeed, they have to sell albums, let's turn to the music. I'll get the hard part out of the way. This band is clearly not trying to fit in with the modern "acceptable range" of music (Arcade Fire, Florence + the Machine, etc) today, which mostly deals in cutting looks at the negatives we see in the world today. Their "1960's hippie" feel in 2010 simply shows their courage to display something different. I'm not too happy with the "messianic" presentation of "Edward Sharpe" he's painted, but leaving that behind, the music is simply stellar. This is a well-studied reinterpretation of 1960's psychedelic folk rock. It's one of the most laid back albums in that genre that you're going to find, that doesn't go overboard with an unusual obsession for Bob Marley, the Beatles, or any other major root. They show an honest respect for their predecessors without sounding repetitive or too focused on one influence or another. In other words, they're original, without being too original, and they've aimed for, and successfully recreated the sound of an era, presenting it in a way that is palatable to the modern ear. There's not a single song on this album that is going to grate on your nerves. To be honest, the album leaves you feeling happy and relaxed. If you're looking for a sharp dystopian outlook on suburban life, or a depressing analysis of modern information overload, look elsewhere, there's none of that here. There's a playful innocence to this album that is as happy as the Weepies, without sounding too saccharin at the same time. My guess is that many who reviewed this album were simply not approaching it with an open mind. So many recent albums that have come out recently are based around a sharp, sometimes biting analysis of the woes of the current economic crisis or the seeming lack of authenticity in the world today, that we've adjusted our palettes to hear this kind of music. Expect good music from this album, and listen to it on a day when you're not trying to find misery as your best company, and you'll find yourself pleasantly surprised. Collapse
  2. Oct 12, 2011
    Forget all the trappings of hippie cliches and get your head out of the sand and just listen. This is a fine album with great song writing. Looking forward to their next effort. Go see them live. They're amazing. Expand
  3. Feb 1, 2011
    Full Review is available here: http://thecriticalfan.blogspot.com/2011/02/music-review-edward-sharpe-and-magnetic.html

    When this album
    came out way back in 2009, it was rightfully categorized as a throwback to the free-love lyrics and â Expand
  4. Aug 18, 2013
    [6.7] Some credit must be given to the band for at least making indie folk music interesting, but any appeal the band has is overshadowed by their generally annoying sound. That's not to say there aren't any good tracks on this record, just most of them get old very quickly. Expand
  5. Aug 20, 2010
    I listened to this album over and over for about a week but I failed to grow a beard, wear bold plaid shirts, or ride a fixie. So I think most the magic was lost after a few listens. Your results may vary. Expand

See all 6 User Reviews