With Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Alex Ebert made the dramatic 180 from sleazy electroclash-leaning punk singer in his former band Ima Robot to grizzly bearded bandleader in an 11-piece down-home freak folk revue, bright psychedelic colors and farmhouse harmonies replacing his not too distant past of black leather and smirky sneers. The band's debut album, Up from Below, had some bright moments when the strength of the songwriting cut through the affectation. A few years later, Here is much the same. The album opens strongly, with the undeniably catchy pair of tunes "Man on Fire" and "That's What's Up," both rising to handclapping summits of old-fashioned Southern revival and jug band jubilation. Lead vocalist Jade Castrinos reprises her role trading verses with Ebert on these songs and later takes center stage on the electrified "Fiya Wata." Castrinos' contributions feel spirited and from the gut. Later on in the album, many nods are made to various influences from different sects of hippie culture, including Bob Marley and Jerry Garcia. ~ Fred Thomas
Rolling Stone (p.76) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "Much of the LP has a post-Altamont, let's-be-mellow-around-the-campfire vibe minus that era's sense of spiritual depletion. It's the kind of magical revisionism you can attempt 45 years down the line."
Spin (pp.78-79) - "HERE offers the succor of humbly skyward-gazing arrangements and graceful melody."
Entertainment Weekly (p.118) - "[T]hey've got so much heart, they can crush hipster irony with one squeeze of the accordion." -- Grade: A-