The Lumineers have returned to the spotlight bringing with them a resplendent sophomore effort, Cleopatra, due out April 8th via Dualtone Records. This band holds a special place in my heart, as their self-titled 2012 blockbuster of a debut album was the soundtrack to, well, my life at that time. Their folktastic style of song arrangement, elegantly simple instrumentation, combined with their individual and personal aesthetic as a band resonates deeply with this retro-hearted girl; their ability to pay homage to the past while being a breath of fresh air in the present is incredible.
The album is full of tunes in The Lumineers’ signature style—heartstring-tugging tales sung with conviction, with Wesley Schultz’s emotive voice that always breaks in the just that certain way at just the right time, complete with that empty wooden dancehall reverb-y echo, serious stompbox, and plenty of jangle. On album standout, “Sleep On The Floor”, a pep talk from a motivated lover who wants to move on to something bigger and better, as well as a fine example of their classic style, Schultz sings “Pack yourself a toothbrush dear/Pack yourself a favorite blouse/Take a withdrawal slip/Take all of your savings out/‘Cause if we don’t leave this town/We might never make it out.” “Ophelia”, an infectious stunner, begins with stomping feet and twinkling piano and sets up camp in the part of your brain that can’t forget a catchy chorus.
However, as with any other musical ensemble made of living and creative beings, The Lumineers have shifted towards a slightly different direction sound-wise with several of the tunes on Cleopatra; some bands change abruptly between releases, but The Lumineers ease us in with charm and grace. The easy-going and reminiscent “In The Light” and the melancholic musings of “Gale Song” make waves in the pool of not-so-rootsy acoustic folk in which the band collectively dips its proverbial toes.
The record finishes sweetly with “Patience”, an instrumental piano tune, the kind of song you might hear at the end of a wistful film, somewhat melancholy, yet tenderly hopeful. Cleopatra is indeed a unique and lovely addition the diverse Americana landscape.
Purchase Cleopatra: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/cleopatra/id1072915916