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Music Review: Live in No Particular Order

Home is whenever you go live.

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros released Live in No Particular Order: 2009-2014 Oct. 9. The band’s first-ever live anthology includes 21 songs that lead singers Alex Ebert and Jade Castrinos played with their crew all over the world (United Kingdom, Mexico, Switzerland and several cities in the U.S.) Besides the Californian band’s most celebrated hit “Home,” fans can enjoy other favorites such as “Janglin, ”40 Day Dream” and “If I Were Free,” and appreciate the wide spectrum of musical registers—indie folk, Bob Dylanesque gospel, neo-psychedelia—the band covers.

“If I Were Free”—a bountiful homage to the late Beatles—displays the band’s versatility as the anthology includes two versions from 2013. For first one, played in Troy, Ohio at the GOTR Daytrotter Session, Ebert delivers a Johnny Cash-like deep voice. The band performed the second version at the Floydfest in Floyd, Va. and although it conserves the playful Fab Four vibe, one can feel the impact Bob Dylan and Pink Floyd had on Ebert and the band. If Edward Sharpe is the messianic figure inclined to fall in love that the singer from L.A. made up and adopted as an alter ego, Dylan is the Prophet and Cash, the Master.

In the case of “Home,” Ebert and Castrinos did not tell the love story that splits the song in two parts on stage back in 2013—you know those candid words by heart now, “While you were sitting in the backseat smoking a cigarette you thought was going to be your last, I was falling deep, deeply in love with you, and I never told you until just now.” Rather, their Floydfest version features several anecdotes told by the audience members, highlighting their love for their partners, families, friends and life in general. “Home” is a song about a road trip, laughs and love. But mainly, it is a hymn about daily-life epiphanies. The insertion of these crowd voices makes epiphanies the theme giving coherence to the entire album for, as Castrinos puts it, “the revelation of a song is that it’s anywhere you go.”

But as she left the band last year—“quit” according to Ebert, “was booted” in her terms—after being asked to take off one tour, where the band’s style and music is now heading to remains as a huge question mark. So, for the fans who have been following the band since its first concerts in 2009, Live in No Particular Order surely represents a nostalgic and magical mystery ride. 

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