As with most duets (and by "most," we mean "all"), "Home" actually has two speakers instead of just one. There isn't much conflict between them, though, and aside from a little back-and-forth from bass to alto, the song is actually not much of a duet at all.
Except for the dialogue portion, there's no sense of conversation, no call-and-answer, and little harmonizing. Ebert and Castrinos are essentially singing the same song at each other, and if they traded lyrics, few people would notice. We'll even go one step further and say that "Home" could easily be turned into a solo tune without much effort, and the only real aspect of narration is that someone is very much in love with someone else.
As we said earlier, though, "except for the dialogue portion." When Ebert and Castrinos begin speaking candidly to each other about an event in their past, the song comes alive. They draw listeners into their relationship and allow them access to a personal moment.
Ebert professes his love for Castrinos in a casually charming way, injecting much-needed personality into an otherwise lyrically flat duet. Forget the band. We could listen to an entire album of these two lovebirds reading spoken word poetry back and forth.
But, too bad Jade and Alex broke up, and Jade's no longer in the band.
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" (source). But for those of us who aren't aging hippies, die-hard folk music fans, or residents of Los Angeles—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 Los Angeles that's buried in the hills—you know, like a canyon would be. Huh. 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's 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."