They're spoiling us. Having released their 8-track second album, Here, little more than a year ago, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros have returned with a sprawling 12-track collection that they've decided should be self-titled. Such a statement confirms that the band are 100% behind the new material, and frontman Alex Ebert has said that the songs on album number three "mean everything" to him.

They're also "the rawest, most liberated stuff" the 11-strong collective have done yet. The band's first two albums, Up From Below (which included the sleeper hit 'Home'), and Here have allowed the group to build up a fanbase that's set to become as big as their stirring, heart-swelling sound. Anyone who's seen them live can confirm that the ESATMZ live experience is almost like a celebratory, communal get-together. (I saw them in Manchester last year and was buzzing off it for days.) What they've done for LP3 is take that live energy and try to capture it in a studio environment.

Such a thing is a risky move, but from the opening notes of lead single 'Better Days', it's clear that the band are going to give it their best shot, and there's many a euphoric moment on here - backing up Ebert's assertion that the new material "is the most liberated [and] rambunctious stuff" they've done.

Dropping in the 6-and-a-half-minute 'Let's Get High' as the second track is a measure of their confidence; the only drug they're talking about getting high on is - you guessed it - love, and this admirable sentiment helps them to power through an extended outro which features massed vocals aplenty. It's every bit as colourful as the rainbow-hued album artwork suggests, and the symphonic pop of 'Life Is Hard' and 'They Were Wrong' (the latter of which proves that the band are continuing to push their sound forward, letting darker shades creep in) lets the band's psychedelic influences come to the fore on an album that's their most diverse offering yet. It's fun and fulfilling, sure, but you only get so far with an optimistic outlook and a carefree spirit, and the band's ever-shifting sound is definitely going places.

With music like this, it's easy to be put off by too much of the same thing, but the uplifting vibe that runs through most of ESATMZ's third album is impossible to resist. If the full-on sound becomes too much, or you're not the sentimental type, then there's more laid back moments on offer, like 'In the Summer' and the dazzling closer 'This Life', which makes the most of a simple melody, setting it against a curiously defeated-sounding outlook and mid-tempo waltz for a psychedelic gospel folk finale that ends things on a resonant, hopeful note.

Meticulous production and a breezy mix mean that the record is a treat for the ears; case in point: 'In the Lion' is particularly packed, but nothing's lost in translation. There are many musical layers at work, and each one gets to have their say. It's not a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth - though certainly a busy album on the whole, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros finds the band pursuing their musical vision with all the fresh-faced enthusiasm that one would expect from them, and much more besides.

They've spent much of the last year or so on the road, and have become a tighter unit as a whole; that, above all, comes through most clearly on a record which takes their effervescent and energetic sound to new heights.