It’s a shame this album was released in June. Why? The coldest of Australia’s months and a wavering flu do little to complement the summer-encompassing jamboree that is Here. But beggars can’t be choosers and for the 38 minutes that the record lasts, the listener is offered a temporary (and catchy) lapse from winter’s melancholy blues.

Don’t get the wrong impression, the ‘enthusiastic-for-Summer’ sound doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a clumsy attempt to replicate the success of 2009’s Up From Below; depth is not absent from Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero’s follow-up.

Instead, from the outset of the album, a new driving direction towards the foolishness of life’s concerns is introduced. The opening track, “Man on Fire”, extends as an invitation to the audience to not cower, but alternatively grow in the presence of despair.

Following their runaway 2009 hit “Home” where Jade Castrinos excelled in the spotlight, Here features her on lead vocals just as much as frontman Alex Ebert. Both her solo tracks and the duets construct a heightened dynamic and depth to each composition, countering the monotonous narration of their previous LP.

Unfortunately, at times tracks get repetitive. “Mayla” and “One Love to Another” move beyond being innocent chants of passion to become pieces that should of ended many verses prior. Parts of the record are also drowned in religious overtones, which distracts from the upbeat sound.

Having previously cited seasons as an influence and with confirmation that another, more “celebratory” release will be out before 2013, one can only hope that too much time in the sun won’t lead to sunburn.

-Lachlan Mitchell

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