Before I delve into my (rave) review, I have to warn you,
reader: this song is an overwhelmingly scintillating odyssey with lyrics that
will either chill or inspire you. I cannot take responsibility for the intense
emotional reaction you are prone to have when you embark on this gorgeous,
sprawling, 7-minute voyage.
Here is a preview of some of the lyrics, all of which are
“Cold eats the flesh of broken hearts / tender the strike of tinder gods.
Embers across a rayless sky / still warm my soul, I often cry.
…Kind of awesome imagery, right?
I am a staunch advocate for long songs with multiple phases. MGMT’s “Siberian Breaks” and Daft Punk’s “Touch” are definitely in
my top 25. And “Hot Coals” easily entered those ranks on my first listen.
Featured above is a fan-made music video that Edward Sharpe and
the Magnetic Zeros shared on their Facebook page with the following
comment from lead singer Alex Ebert:
The song lilts from a blues rock beginning into more familiar
alternative folk territory, before transitioning yet again into a jazzy and
upbeat chorus complete with masterful piano ornamentations and wire brushes on drums. The time changes just keep coming, surging forward seamlessly and sending the
listener deeper into this vivid arena of aural stimulation.
In later stages, there are trumpet features
and swelling organs that I believe are resuscitative. Seriously. If I
ever go into a coma, play this trumpet solo to revive me.
This is the first single to be released by the band since
their eponymous album in 2013. It is also ESMZ’s first studio release since their messy
split with Jade Castrinos. Many
fans have voiced complaints about the band’s sound without Jade, especially at
live shows. But if you’ve enjoyed Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros in any
musical capacity besides their hit single “Home”, you may find this change is less
a tragedy and more a testament to the band’s maturation. “Hot Coals” is
unmistakably Jadeless. And indeed, it is still a creative masterpiece that demonstrates
fantastic growth for Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.
There has already been plenty of discussion about how ESMZ
will have to adapt to losing their lead female voice. I would like to turn the
focus instead toward the statement “Hot Coals” makes: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros will thrive in this
Ten’s company: The band’s current members are Alex Ebert, Nico Aglietti, Stewart Cole, Josh Collazo, Seth Ford-Young, Christian Letts, Orpheo McCord, Mark Noseworthy, Crash Richard and Mitchell Yoshida.
Egert said, “Hot
Coals, to me, are memories.” Perhaps that is why the track is so remarkable; it
is a collection of nostalgias lovingly spun together into a song for the ages.
This single about memories establishes itself as more than memorable – it is an
unforgettable milestone in Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ discography
that has left me eager to see what flames they’ll kindle next.