“Any ol’ shmuck can be a rockstar,” Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros once said. And in a sense, that’s probably true. While any ol’ shmuck may not be able to write truly original music, the chillwave phenomenon alone serves as a testament to the power of nostalgia to bolster an artist’s career. But whereas chillwave drew on New Wave, Ebert’s Edward Sharpe draws on ’70s folk, family bands and a time when cruising the country in a van full of your friends, wearing flowy muslin clothing and daisy chains, seemed like a viable career option.
And for Ebert and Co., since 2009, it actually has been. Buoyed by widespread popularity of their single, “Home,” Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros have been doing just that. Reports of their live shows are all “It’s all happening, man” moments and jam circles. And their sophomore album, Here, is chock-full of sing-alongs, nods to bygone greats and one very unfortunate inclusion of a didgeridoo. But without the experiential aspect of the live show, Here fails to inspire.