Alexander Ebert – Alexander

I really dig Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, so when I learned that lead singer and songwriter Alexander Ebert was going to take a stab at a solo album I wondered why he would even go there. Much to my surprise, his debut is anything but a watered down version of his band’s work.

Influenced by everything from ’70s rock to optimistic Disney songs like “Zip a Dee Do Da,” Alexander gives the Magnetic Zeros’ Up From Below a run for its money. Devoid of bandmates this time around, Ebert contributed each and every sound. When he reached an unfamiliar instrument or a point where he would normally call in a collaborator to lay down a track, he took a step back, picked up the mystery instrument in question, and took the time to learn it. After a decade and a half of sitting in recording studios watching bands track records, this kind of musicianship impresses the hell out of me.

Ebert’s love of the craft really shows in his songwriting and luckily for listeners, the loose drawl that he brings to vocals on previous works is just as prominent and delicious here.  Alexander is not an uptight or expertly executed album, and that’s a major part of its charm. It’s unhurried and is a great example of what happens when production doesn’t get in the way and songs are allowed to come to fruition organically. “Let’s Win!” and “Truth” are killer. They sound like they could easily fall in line on any Zeros album. Ebert does successfully pave his own way, though, giving listeners good reason to get behind his solo career. There’s some stripped down material like “Glimpses” that’s so humble I almost feel like he is sitting on my couch with a ratty acoustic guitar singing specifically for me.

Buy Alexander and you can thank me later for the recommendation. His voice is on fire and I, for one, feel lovesick.

Alexander Ebert
[Community Music/Rough Trade]