Release Date: Mar 1, 2011
Record label: Vagrant
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Pop, Neo-Psychedelia
If it's vaguely hippie-ish and vaguely Californian, count on Ebert to work it into his solo debut: acid-folk reveries, Beck-ish busker rap, lyrics about Vietnam, sensitive maleness, Dylanisms, yodeling, calling women "mama," reggae, bongos. A Jesus-beard guy who fronts the 11-piece collective Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Ebert has been working the L.A. music scene for more than a decade.
Like most bedroom recordings, there's a strong D.I.Y. current running through Alexander, the first solo release from Alex Ebert. Better known as the esoteric leader of Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Ebert scales things back on this album, playing every instrument himself and handling production duties as well. For a man who spent the previous year on the road with a ten-member rock ensemble, he adapts well to the solo role, channeling Bob Dylan one minute and delving into reggae the next.
Whether reading interviews with Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros frontman Alexander Ebert or simply listening to the last decade of his music, one gets the sense that he's the type of guy who might lean deep into a hammock and-- sans irony, with joint-- say, "Yeah, man, music really is the universal language." That's not to mock Ebert as much as it is to point out that he's a successful songwriter who still seems to have very little sense of the kind of songs he writes. His debut with the Magnetic Zeros, 2009's Up From Below, hopscotched between downtrodden drifters, psychedelic pop, sturdy rock anthems, and the June-and-Johnny stunner "Home". Though enjoyable enough at times, it begged for focus.
An album that dips its toes into folk without fully committing to any one style. Andrzej Lukowski 2011 Fifteen or so years ago, folk music and the alternative mainstream were two very separate entities, intersecting only via a few figures associated with the curious non-genre of ‘chill-out’. Skip forward to the present day and folk is everywhere, scattered through the contemporary musical landscape in innumerable guises.
Some people might be surprised to learn that frontman for Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros—you know, the guy with the wild hair and matching dance moves—isn’t actually named Edward Sharpe. He’s Alex Ebert, and his first solo record, Alexander, wants to make sure you know just that. The record won’t be foreign territory for fans of the indie-folk collective, but does draw on a broader range of influences than did the band’s Up From Below, including tracks that echo the sensibilities of music’s two most famous Bobs – Dylan (“In the Twilight,” “Bad Bad Love”) and Marley (“Awake My Body”).