Renounces capital control in unbridled comeback solo LP
Alex Ebert, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist virtuoso of the bands Ima Robot and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros released his second solo LP, I vs I, January 31st of this year. It’s been nine years since his last release as a solo artist. Looking to cleanse himself of the miasma of capitalistic intent within music, he reverts back to his “most baked-in musical state” found in his early recordings. Functioning within his solo sphere, he has the freedom to execute his purest creative vision unhampered by that commercial intervention, one that allows him to be “relaxed enough to let the electricity of instinct guide [him].”
From the outset, “To The Days” begins the album with quite the opening lines that which signify a reinvented Ebert with bawdy, tongue-in-cheek lyrics. “I want to be inside your anatomy/ and in the shade of your belly fat/ swim in the blood of your jelly ass” he sings almost matter-of-factly to a lowkey hip-hop drum line and clocktower bell tolls. Then it brusquely switches into a kind of Broadway score, all vaudevillian and to the likes of what Foxygen sometimes accomplishes. It then switches yet another time into where he employs a gentle, reflective falsetto. The first track augurs the rest of the eclecticism of the LP.
Ebert then dabbles into some funk melodies in “Automatic Youth” which could be the “hit single” of the record. It has an infectious hook and the first appearance of his stylistic rapping that intermittently appears across the rest of the tracks as in “I Smoke” in which he alternates between nasal, staccato rapping and sonorous falsetto until this synth bass line outro of substantial girth ushers the audience out and on. Then there’s “King Killer” which may be the banger of the album, equipped with these empowering and exulting chords like some ESPN sports anthem rip-off.
A couple idiosyncrasies of the record: it has occasional sax and, even, whistling. The sax pops up in some moments for extra flourish or a juicy solo in a couple tracks “Her Love” and “Fluid.” Also, in that latter track he’s addressing a gender fluid individual that he had past relations with as he laments, “been so lonely, oh!/ since you went away/ been so lonely, oh!/ since you went gay.” Yet, Ebert doesn’t really mind how his ex identifies. He swears he’s still down.
All in all, Alex Ebert concentrates on himself, sets the sights inward. He has proven his deft versatility to jump from one musical style to another, inexorably, and, ever-increasingly, without the duress of capitalism. Ebert doesn’t want to be bound to “that premise of capital product–slightly modifying successes,” as he says in his own words. Rather, he continually reinvents himself, continually creates a success that would never be slightly modified but mummified as yet another entry into his protean canon. I vs I is one of such entries.