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Technique

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros are a refreshing dose of hippie in a decidedly post-hippie era (or an insufferable dose, if you hate hippies). Up From Below has been described as "a love letter to Laurel Canyon and all of its quasi-mystic juju that is as infuriatingly contrived and retro as it is forward-thinking and majestic." But for those of us who aren't aging hippies, die-hard folk music fans, or residents of L.A. (admittedly there's a lot of those, but that's still not everyone) Laurel Canyon may not actually mean anything. What's Laurel Canyon, anyway?

Laurel Canyon is an area of L.A. that is buried in the hills—you know, like a canyon would be. Geology aside, the area became a haven for alternative culture, communal living, and folk music in the late 1960s, and the great musical names that emerged from the area include Joni Mitchell, Jim Morrison, and the Mamas and the Papas.

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros defined themselves in their debut album with clear reference to Laurel Canyon's heroes and to the general vibe of 1960s love and hippieness. Their website calls their performances "music love-ins," and every part of the band's image is consistent with their apparent belief that love is all you need (to be an indie folk-rock band).

"Home" waves the flag of this belief most distinctively, as it is both a love duet and a group sing-along, a dialogue between lovers and a public event. It is, frankly, exactly like listening to (or watching) a "love-in."

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