Alexander Ebert – Alexander
A question arises from Alexander Ebert’s solo album: if you are to make a record that sounds more or less like your band’s previous work then why bother doing it at all? Well, taking into consideration that Ebert took the term ‘solo’ literally and wrote and performed every aspect of the album by himself you tend to overlook that question and allow yourself to be impressed by his effort.
Opening with the unashamedly positive track Let’s Win! the album sets the pace for a happy and carefree album with jangling guitars and tambourines but it then grounds itself with tracks like Truth and Bad Bad Love highlighting vocals and bass, only to become horribly depressing in Old Friend and Glimpses, which makes you second guess how happy Ebert really is in his more upbeat tunes.
Lyrically the album is also fairly strong with Ebert trying to make sense of life and relationships, most of the tracks revolve around finding someone and the ensuing happiness, the reality when relationships do not live up to the expectations and some pretty bleak moments when nothing seems to work out. Truth is a great example of Ebert attempting to deal with the darker aspects of his tumultuous life and the accompanying tempo works really well. However there are at times where you are you listening to a track and think ‘Did he really just say [insert bizarre phrase]?‘ which can be distracting. Yes, he really does ask his love interest to ‘…drop [her] fears like little turds’.
Alexander meanders all over the emotional landscape with a touch of southern charm, at times leaving you boundlessly joyous to downright gloomy – much like his work in Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes – but the notion of it being performed by him alone seems to make the emotion a little bit more personable. Once you finish the album you tend to have a sense of hope for something better than anything definitive, but the journey is well worth it.