Is it possible to condense a 10-person band down to a single Alexander Ebert? Mmm yes? As if the Magnetic Zeroes weren’t enough, Ebert bathed in his own creative juices to write and produce his own full-length self-titled album, Alexander. Although he typically has an entire band to do the stomping, clapping, and folk-ing behind him, Ebert successfully completed his mission by doing it all himself. In a press release, he stated, “I wanted to be able to build an album basically with my hands, like building a house by myself.” Let me just say, this is definitely an interesting house he has constructed.
“Let’s Win” brightens your ears at the start of the album. Off the bat, you hear the correlation between this solo project and the Magnetic Zeroes. There’s that same light, crisp sound of happiness from the guitars entangled with random percussion instruments like triangles and scrapers.
All those fun noises, in addition to those sporadic mouth sounds he creates, reappear in many other songs including the next song, “Awake My Body.”This song is quite wild. He stacks melody on top of melody and sandwiches in an array of sounds. Towards the end there’s an epic dueling solo between a kazoo and his whistling. But this isn’t before a slow little break of alarm clocks and what sounds like the sound effects of a drunken man eating a large amount of peanut butter and slopping it around in his mouth in efforts to breathe. Does that make sense? Are you getting the visual?
“Truth,” the next wonderful creation on the album, is probably my favorite. The style of this song is very unique and different from all the others. His whistle whimsically blows through the beginning with “ooh’s and ahh’s” until Ebert speaks in a spoken word-flow. He sheds some soul and reveals his “truths,” like when he spits, “Say you’re my lover, say you’re my homie. Tilt my chin back slit my throat take a bath in my blood get to know me.” Lyrically, this song stimulated chills.
“Bad Bad Love,” is a kind of 50’s bluesy jive to it. A “doo-wop” ensemble flooded the back tracks while he strums those chords so sharply to a lethargic paced drumbeat. There was a small hint of the Penguins’ Earth Angel that kept coming to me while listening to it.
Going along with this motif, “Remember Our Heart” rings in with Ebert’s raspy, Wanda Jackson squeal. It keeps slow with handclaps instead of snare and a small break that’s filled with children’s playful banter.
And then comes “”Glimpses…” the way he yelps in this track will surely send shivers up your spine. Ebert sets it up with a bluesy acoustic arpeggio and just lays it in with that focused pain and struggle in his voice, especially when he hollers, “I’ve had glimpses of our tomorrow, but Lord if I didn’t I’d kill myself today.”
What makes this album so distinguishable is the fact that he can make each song have such a different personality. It gives the album, as a whole, a great sense of breadth so when you’re finished listening to it for the 3rd time, you feel like you’re swimming through an underwater cave where there’s something to discover with every turn, as apposed to a small swimming pool where you know what to expect.
For more information on Alexander Ebert check out his official website.