Is there any band as euphorically confrontational as this one?
To understand this band is to understand the multitudes. They are a large band, but more is meant than the number 10: to scream, laugh, skip, run, weep, sit, dance - to be silent, ugly, beautiful - to live and to die. That immutable law of the universe - mutability. The name Edward Sharpe was a killing of Alexander Ebert. “Om Nashi Me”, their popular chant, roughly translates to “Yes, my Destruction” - the destruction of persona. Yours, mine, his, theirs.
In this, their fourth studio album, the music and lyrics dare further. Rare is it these days to hear such bold, raw complexity. Ebert- or Sharpe, or Whoever - voice beaten and tenderized into a rare and fleshy instrument, lends his words a jarring humanity, while the “ramshackle” band, after 8 years of leading the folk-pop resurgence, seems to have snapped into that mythical Voltron union, each member the unique and individualistic limb of a single, masterful body. A listen to the impossible cling of rhythmic webbing in “Hot Coals” or “Wake Up The Sun” and one gets the impression of 10 individuals possessed by one another. There are no studio tricks here. There are no click tracks binding the band to temporal grids. Tempo fluctuates. There are no digitally duplicated choruses, no doubled or quintupled “fattened” vocals, as smeared daily over our ears. Much more important, though, is what is here - all the defiance and jubilation they are celebrated for live, committed, in all its wilderness, to record.