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ALBUM REVIEWS

Alexander

Alexander

By James Reed
Globe Staff / April 5, 2011

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Alex Ebert is never short on feeling or passion on his ragtag new album. That’s the good news. Humming along like a psych-folk gem from the ’60s, “Alexander’’ is the vision of an artist who knows exactly what he wants and how to convey it. The last thing the frontman for Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros wants to do, however, is edit himself. “Awake My Body’’ crash-lands somewhere between “Yellow Submarine’’ and Harry Nilsson’s kid-friendly “The Point!’’ and it’s as clumsy as that analogy implies. When the songs stay on track, though, they are often otherworldly. On “Truth,’’ Ebert comes across as the messianic figure he conjures in concert: “The truth is that I never shook my shadow/ Every day it’s trying to trick me into doing battle,’’ he sings. “Glimpses’’ is the most spectral moment, an acoustic dirge devastating because of its clarity and conviction. Like so much of “Alexander,’’ the song sounds like an extension of Ebert’s work with Edward Sharpe, but without his band behind him, the music here often drifts in and out of soft focus. Ebert is clearly betting his fans prize the journey much more than the destination. (Out now)

ESSENTIAL “Truth’’