What a letdown. The sophomore slump is apparently alive and well! Edward Sharpe and Co. had a unique, fantastically refreshing astronomical shot to fame with 2010's Up From Below. Unfortunately, their latest release, Here, is anything but an admirable follow-up. Sure, they get big points for putting out a varied and adaptive release – as lesser bands would simply have tried to duplicate the blueprint of Up From Below. Here is a more folksy (is that even possible?) and hippy-dippy (is that even imaginable?) album. It's mainly what we'd come to expect from the 10-piece band (not counting the additional eight they sometimes employ) – it just doesn't have those bangers that had everyone dancing around the campfire with a tambourine (or was that just me?) while rocking out to 2010's release.
Here is undoubtedly nice and extremely listenable; it just lacks the dynamic sound that made "Home", "40 Day Dream" and "Janglin" the kind of incredible sensations that are nowhere to be found in even one solitary song on this release. It just seems like lead singer Alex Ebert and the remainder of his basketball team spent way too much time between 2010 and 2012 listening to the Marley clan (Bob, Ziggy, Damian, Charles, Ernie, Kenny and whoever else aided in the rise of mainstream reggae). The closest the collective gets to any of the grandiose-ness of Up From Below is possibly "Man On Fire" or "That's What's Up." Both tracks borrow the community sound that was so signature to the success of the previous album. Alas, it's not enough to push Here from sleepytime music to "put down your patchouli and grab your patchwork skirt, it's time to dance!"
Worth a Listen: "Man On Fire" and "That's What's Up"