By CHRIS TALBOTT
AP Music Writer
The new self-titled album from Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros is late. Way late. More than a year overdue.
Frontman and producer Alex Ebert wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I’m just glad we didn’t put it out all the way back then because so much developed since then,” Ebert said. “Not just the difference a year makes but the difference even an hour makes. We were in the studio while taking a break from mixing when I came up with this song ‘Life Is Hard.’ Songs developed at sort of the last minute.”
Some of the 12 songs on the band’s third album, released Tuesday, were recorded more than 18 months ago with the music that would eventually appear on the California-based folk-rock band’s 2012 release, “Here.”
Ebert had so much music, he considered making “Here” a double album. Then he thought he’d release the material a few months later as a second album. But summer came and went. Seasons ticked away.
These were eventful times for the band, which has a sliding lineup that usually numbers more than 10 around founders Ebert and Jade Castrinos. “Here” opened at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and the band played to larger and larger audiences in bigger and bigger venues. This was driven in part by the popularity of “Big Easy Express,” Emmett Malloy’s documentary that landed a Grammy Award for the Zeros, Mumford & Sons and Old Crow Medicine Show, and the open-armed nature of their music, which lends itself to large-crowd sing-a-longs.
All the while, Ebert continued work on the album.
“The work was very, very sort of diligent and 16-hours-a-day sort of work. At least 12,” he said in an interview. “There was very rarely a day off. So it wasn’t like, ‘Oh, let’s take our time.’ It just wasn’t ready yet and stuff kept evolving.”