Album review | Indie folk

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, ‘Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros’

Having released a debut that caught people’s attention and a follow-up album that proved the first one wasn’t a fluke, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros take the next logical step for their third act: They put out the inevitable disappointment. Instead of invoking a mood and place as on their first two albums, “Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros” finds the band/collective in the less useful act of simply aping a style, in this case the electric praise music of feel-good Christian hippies. Alex Ebert still sounds like a man singing from the pulpit, but there’s a growing distance between him and everyone else that’s not bridged until the closing lament, “This Life.” A sort of last-call “Oh! Darling,” the song skirts the line between plain old sadness and despair until the choir comes screaming in to call Ebert a liar. It generates a bracing tension that the album’s lacked right up to the end. (Out now)

Marc Hirsh