Much like his bread-and-butter band Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, frontman Alex Ebert’s solo shtick relies heavily on that whole second wave Laurel Canyon hippie chic vibe. If you’re willing to buy into it, Alexander is a goldmine of handclap-filled, folksy jangle jams. If you’re not, though, this one might send you running for the hills. From the critical standpoint, Alexander the album works simply because of the achievement it signals for Ebert. Left to his own devices (literally, every sound you hear is him, whether it be guitar strumming or mouthed beats) and sans Ed Sharpe’s army of backup singers, piano players, and floor stompers, Ebert shines as a songwriter and vocalist. Yes, some of the lyrics (“Awake My Body,” “Bad, Bad Love”) fall flat, but when he gets it right (“Truth,” “In the Twilight”), it’s pure, lo-fi home-recorded gold.


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