Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros have snuck the first instalments of a 12-part movie musical into their debut album, “Up From Below.” Mixed in with the happy hippie peaceful songs that best sum up the multi-member band are the first two parts of SALVO!, a story about the messiah-like character Edward Sharpe, who was born in a desert wasteland and arrested after killing his own father.
The expressive and artistically-shot introduction to the 12-part feature-length movie is available on YouTube and begins with “Desert Song.” Starting with a man holding his child, chanting in the desert, “Desert Song” introduces Edward Sharpe, who as a child is left alone to fend for himself in the desert. Lead singer Alex Ebert is Edward Sharpe as a young man, alone and wandering in his barren surroundings.
Part 2 is “Kisses over Babylon,” which picks up in the same Mad Max sort of wasteland world. Edward, who killed his father in Part 1, is arrested and taken to a water-labour prison. With Brother, a friend in the prison, Edward leads a prison break, but he and Brother are the only ones who make it. Brilliant story-telling aside, this video is admirable for the cameo aspect alone. David Straithairn and Dermot Mulroney both have acting roles.
SALVO! is a unique project that the band has fully immersed itself in. The narrative visuals show just how amazing Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros are at song writing and story-telling.
While SALVO! seems depressing so far, I’m sure the hero will rise up and find freedom and happiness. That’s pretty much the theme for Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros – freedom. Their most popular and successful song “Home,” might very well be the most free-spirited and uplifting song ever.
“Home” is so good it makes me want to cry big drops of happy tears while dancing uninhibited in a grassy field on a warm, sunny afternoon. Maybe it will be the final song in SALVO! That would be a feel-good ending.