March 2, 2011

Test Spin: Alex Ebert

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Alex Ebert’s brings combines the best elements of the Magnetic  Zeros and Ima Robot in his latest album.

Alexander, the aptly titled solo effort by Alex Ebert, the hippie mastermind behind Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Ima Robot, is exactly what you would expect from the freaky, eccentric, yet immensely talented cult idol. A solo album in the truest sense, the record is wonderfully kooky, combining the quirky dance-club insanity of Ima Robot with the mellow, carefree lovefest of the Magnetic Zeros. Clearly drawing inspiration from his previous projects, Ebert has crafted a thoroughly enjoyable listening experience that should delight the fans of Ebert’s other incarnations.

Alexander is an absolute solo effort that merely highlights Ebert’s many talents and great versatility. In addition to having composed all the songs on Alexander, he recorded the album alone in his bedroom during tour breaks, playing every instrument and singing both lead and background vocals. Each song consists of a surprising number of sounds: jangling bells and tambourines in album standout “In the Twilight,” distorted bass lines and horns in the lovely “Remember Out Heart,” and joyful clapping and whistling in opener “Let’s Win.” All of these cleverly layered sounds are augmented by Ebert’s raspy, robust, soothing voice, one that shows incredible range and is perhaps among the most distinctive of his generation.

Perhaps Ebert’s greatest talent is his natural gift for crafting undoubtedly catchy tracks. From the enchanting and memorable sound quirks to the lovely melodic chants, each song can easily stand on its own. However, while many artists with this talent inevitably produce an inconsistent album, Ebert successfully compiles a totally cohesive record that is  enjoyable from beginning to end. Alexander is not only proof of Ebert’s incredible gift for crafting gorgeous and fun songs, but also of his immeasurable love for creating and sharing music. With Alexander, all we can hope for is to hear much, much more from Ebert in the future.

-Sydney Ramsden

Original Author: Sydney Ramsden