LP Review by Michael McKenna
via Nor'easter Entertainment Magazine
The Lumineers are one of the unique success stories of the past few years. A down-to-earth independent Americana trio hailing from Denver, their banging anthem “Ho Hey” took the world by storm in 2012, followed by a second #1 single “Stubborn Love” and their third charting single “Submarines”, all carrying them on a journey from the Grammy's, to the top of the charts, to the Hunger Games, all in a short period of time.
Their self-titled debut album became a multi-million seller as they stormed stages around the world and legions of new fans fell in love with the emotional and philosophical range of their pointed, lyrical songwriting. Now, at long last, they are back with their second album, Cleopatra, a collection of such depth and texture it affirms The Lumineers as a band in for the long haul, with a growing canon of songs that stand comparison with the best America has to offer.
The Lumineers consist of Wesley Schultz on vocals & guitar and Jeremiah Fraites on drums & piano. They are joined by the renowned cellist and backing vocalist Neyla Pekarek. “Cleopatra”, is the culmination of three years of non-stop touring, six months of secluded writing in a small house in Denver, and two months of recording in the rural isolation of Woodstock. “I think the old fashioned way is the honest way,” says soft spoken singer Wesley. “We wanted to take our time, strip it right back to its raw and honest essentials, and make an album we believe in.”
This 10-track CD opens with “Sleep On the Floor” which grabs one right from the first note. The lyrics relate to the ups and downs of ones daily life and are powerfully projected by Wesley in a very hypnotic fashion. “Ophelia” takes you to the core of very deep feelings. Jeremiah's piano work sets the pace for this entire piece. The title track, “Cleopatra” features Wesley's picking on his signature Guild guitar and his telling vocals. The timeless Lumineers sound permeates throughout this wonderful tune.
“Gun Song” is about Wesley's father and the gun he found laying in a drawer after he passed away. This pulsating composition will raise your blood pressure and take one to another place immediately. “Angela” takes me back to a day when music told a story that had a deep, heartfelt meaning. This track will hold you captive! One of my favorite tracks on this LP! “In The Light” is an Americana monster, hands down! The projection is so smooth and makes one want to hit replay numerous times! The acoustic guitar just talks and is so fluid!
“Gale Song” reminds me of some of the greats from the good old days in the way this song is performed. Ballads are where an artist is defined and the feelings they give to their listeners. “Long Way From Home” tells of a personal journey that one takes from their youth to adulthood. This track is finely detailed in every sense and is accentuated by tender guitar picking. “Sick In The Head” tells a poignant story of those who were there and now are gone. Touching! The final track, “My Eyes” is so powerfully expressed and touches the listener in places we thought no longer existed. This song will give you goosebumps in short order. I replayed this track numerous times to get that deep feeling that exudes from it.
I can honestly say that this effort goes 'way over the top' and will be Platinum in its first month of existence. This IS the best I have heard from The Lumineers and will be a staple in my catalog for many years to come. BRAVO!!
This LP is a MUST LISTEN and MUST BUY! On the Nor'easter Storm Scale, I give this my highest rating, a FORCE 5!! WELL DONE!!