The Lumineers - An Album Review
From the first seconds of The Lumineers debut album I felt satisfied in a peculiar way, yet often wanting just a little bit more. Similar in style and sound to Mumford and Sons, this group of musicians from Colorado seem to be taking a similar path yet a bit more stripped down and austere. While most albums either take time to grow on you or instantly give you what you want, The Lumineers seems to fall in between, speaking to the heart yet with each listen growing on you with a strong sense of the familiarity.
The way that Josh Fraites and Wesley Schultz croon together reminices of Bob Dylan yet with clearer, cleaner quality such as early Ryan Adams with the twang of John McCauley of Deer Tick. Throw in Neyla Pekarek, a classically trained cellist from Denver into the mix and you’ve got the newest piece to the recent folk revival.
After listening through this album multiple times, I have to say that The Lumineers rocks - not the way that big guitars and layered vocals rock, but it rocks with a sincerity that is guile-less and believable. With trusting vocals, and everything from ukuleles to banjos, this album gets in your skin. It premiers with a down-home song, “Flowers in your Hair” - which in a way stops short of delivering. The lyrical content is strong and sincere, yet the song seems to stop abruptly; however it leads you right into “Classy Girl” - one of my favorite songs on the album. The somber tones of Classy Girl are brilliantly laid out yet the vocals don’t take themselves too seriously, which is nice considering the content. The story of the song unfolds in your mind right as it’s being sung, but soon the somber tones break into a foot-stomping anthem that you can’t help but tap your foot to the rhythm of.
Honestly, “Dead Sea” is another strong track taking you back to a simpler time, but with more than juvenile language. The themes of heartache and loss in the lyrics not just of this one, but of the overarching ora of the album, seem to be born out of a poetic determination, but throw them to the uplifting anthems and melodies and you have songs that are seemingly perfect for the live stage of an outdoor festival.
“Ho Hey” is another one of those “anthem” type songs that builds from start to finish with a persistent use of the tambourine, which I love by the way. You can catch the music video to this tune on their website here: www.thelumineers.com. By the end of the song, you’ve got to be tapping your feet, hands or head. With spirited hand claps and group chants, it once again expresses hints of a more mellow Deer Tick.
Much of this album though is slow, thoughtful tunes that abandon the up-tempo groove and go for more thought-provoking, introspective lyrics and morose guitar strumming or lonely piano. “Slow it Down” and “Flapper Girl” are two of these songs yet approach the theme from two different angles. I have to say though that in the end “Charlie Boy” is one of my favorites… a sure sounding, mellow Americana tune that haunts the soul yet warms the heart.
Overall, a wonderfully solid album that is sure to leave the folk-loving, stripped down searching crowd in a frenzy. I’ll be definitely keeping it in my rotations for a while. A 4 out of 5 stars to be sure.
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