Every week we will be showcasing installments from a special artist discovery series for bands playing the Austin City Limits Music Festival this October from local websites hand-picked by the ACL Festival faithful. This installment comes from Sunset In The Rearview featuring Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.
If I were asked to pick one band to consider an immediate success story, all signs would point to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. But it hasn’t always been so easy for the band’s front man, Alex Ebert. It wasn’t until he broke up with his girlfriend, moved out of his home and left an addiction program that Ebert discovered the band’s namesake, Edward Sharpe. A fictional and healing character created in Ebert’s mind, Sharpe is described by his maker to have been “sent down to Earth to kinda heal and save mankind…but he kept getting distracted by girls and falling in love.”
Though Ebert intended to write a novel about Edward Sharpe, he soon met singer Jade Castrinos and his plans shifted. It wasn’t long before the pair found themselves touring across the country with a van full of fellow musicians. The newly formed band took on the name of the unwritten book’s main character, calling themselves Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.
I find it spectacular that Edward Sharpe was imagined as a healing spirit, for this is exactly what I turn to this music for. Timeless and true, the lyrics and instrumentals of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros are nothing short of therapeutic. Whether it’s their hit song, “Home,” which begins with whistling deliciousness and proceeds into a male/female back-and-forth, or “Desert Song,” a pulsing song preached by Ebert, the music of ESATMZ has the power to lift my spirits and remind me of the pure beauty that is life.
One of my favorite things about this band is that their music is more than just auditory pleasure. It has an element of physicality that enters my brain’s memory drive and ignites images of my past. If you, like me, ever find yourself longing for the days when you attended summer camp and got to sit around a campfire singing group songs, rest assured that these glory days are not stuck in the past. Turn on some Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and I guarantee that the sing-along style and intimate sounds will take you right back to that fire in the middle of the woods. Or, simply attend their live show at Austin City Limits on Sunday, October 10th at ZYNC Card, where you may find yourself sitting in a circle on the floor singing or whistling along to the tune of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. That’s about as Kumbaya as it gets.
Written by Lydia Simmons