Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Alexander-In The Twilight & Old Friend

Alex Ebert is an interesting cat. I'm not going to go deep into his history, (you can read that here) but he seems like a modern day wandering troubadour, getting in where he fits in, but never staying somewhere for too long. His most recent stop is as a solo artist. The current front-man of personal favorite Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Ebert dropped his debut solo album, Alexander, on Tuesday. The album does exactly what you hope to see from an album of the lead singer to one of your favorite bands-introduces a new side of him that builds on, but doesn't copy, his work with his band, while establishing himself as a unique and memorable artist in his own right. 

These two jams showcase two very different sides of Alexander. "In The Twilight" is classic folk-pop. Mixing in a bit of the musical magic dust of Ed Sharpe, this song claps and stomps its way to a feel good finish. On this track Alexander sometimes echoes a young Paul Simon and is a worthy, if untested, heir. "Old Friend" presents a completely different side of Alexander. A convoluted song which at times threatens to ramble, "Old Friend" has a somewhat mysterious power to it which has had me listen to it on repeat for the last two days. While I still won't venture a guess about its meaning, Alexander's meandering psychedelic campfire story is bold and unexpected. The warbling background guitar and other sound effects threaten to take the jam to outerspace, but the sad story about loss and revenge and the harmonica solo keep it firmly rooted. The album on a whole is sometimes messy, and often reaches sky-high, but in the end its exuberance and passion keeps it refreshingly grounded. 

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