Tuesday, February 15, 2011

P&J 2010 (One and Done): Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, "Up From Below"

25 pts, t-437 (voted on by Matt Thomas)

This album was actually released in 2009 and in fact received five mentions on the 2009 P&J, finishing in a tie for 252nd place with 53 points. That certainly helps to explain why nobody else voted for it in 2010, and if I'd known about this earlier then I probably would have disqualified this album from my list of ten "one and done"'s. But it's too late, I already heard the album ...

... and I'm glad I did, because it's really good. I'm also glad I heard it before reading the allmusic review, because phrases like "magic bus", "Eastern mysticism", and "quasi-mystic juju" would have caused me to cackle in horror at what I was getting myself into. But the review is accurate and fairly captures everything there is to like and not like about this album, right down to "40 Day Dream" being the litmus test for the entire album.

I'm sucker for big ensembles, although I tend towards the bands with ten people playing instruments rather than ten people shouting along. But "Up From Below"'s brand of frenetic chaos won me over immediately -- it's equal parts The Go! Team (teenagers hopped up on sugar) and the Mekons (beer-soaked pub rock shoutalongs).

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