If you attended a wedding in the last two years, you have probably heard Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros' "Home." It's the kind of Americana sing-along that everyone likes, and it is about loving someone despite your authentic hobo lifestyle, which is why it was also in a phone commercial. That kind of popularity used to be death. Back when people sold $15 albums by putting one famous song on each of them, ES and the MZs would have signed a seven-record deal and sucked forever. Our newer, better music culture, however, left only the questions of whether they would ever release a second album and if it would sound like the first.
Short answers: duh and yes. Here sounds much like Up From Below, in that it consists of simple melodies made to sound enormous through production—what Kurt Vile calls hyperballads. It is less like the soundtrack to a Sergio Leone movie and more like a choral society living in a bus—understandable after the success of "Home." Mostly, it confirms suspicion: both that the original album was not a fluke, and that the band does not intend to do anything that groundbreaking again.