Album Review: The Lumineers bring forth new album

After what has felt like decades for The Lumineers fans, the trio released their second album on April 8. “Cleopatra” has come to us about four years after The Lumineers’ previous release, their self-titled album “The Lumineers.”
I had been waiting in anticipation a long time for new music from The Lumineers, as I’m sure everyone else was who was hooked by the band’s debut album.
The band broke the charts with the “Ho Hey” back in 2012, and it dominated the radio for several months, as inescapable as the fact that we’re all gonna die someday.
For the past four years, the Denver-based band has been on tour and doing other things. They began the process of recording their sophomore album back in January of last year.
The trio, consisting of Wesley Schultz, Jeremiah Fraites and Neyla Pekarek did so in a rented house located in their hometown; however, before the release of the single “Ophelia,” which was accompanied by an announcement of their plan to release a new album back in February, the band flew under the radar for the better part of the four year span between their releases.
Schultz has been quoted saying that he was all too aware of the pressure on him and his band mates to release new music, but rather than rush it as many bands do with their sophomore releases, The Lumineers wanted to take their time with the album.
I had all but forgotten about The Lumineers when I was scrolling through my Twitter feed and saw that the band announced the release of their new album. I was excited to hear about it and immediately added it to my music library.
As I walked around campus going about my day I was listening to the melodies and echoes of Lumineers singer, leader, and guitarist, Wesley Schultz; and I found myself skipping through quite a few of the songs.
I felt almost bored by the album. As I listened to the album I felt as though I was listening the track from their previous album, “Slow It Down,” on repeat and with more echo.
I was honestly feeling a little disappointed and let down by the album. With frustration and dissatisfaction, I walked away from the album and back to my regular soundtrack of Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar.
The Friday that the album was released was pretty busy for me. I had class starting early in the morning, continuing on into the afternoon, and then I went to work in the evening; all day I was rushing about from one place to the next while listening to the album.
As mentioned before, I was let down by it and honestly had no intentions of listening to it any more than I already had. I didn’t think it was bad, I just wasn’t too fired up by it.
A few days passed, and in that time I took the assignment of writing this review for the album. I still had no intention of listening to the album again, but as more time passed while walking back from work in the afternoon with the sun out and a cool breeze blowing, taking my time and enjoying the scenery on my way back to campus, I decided to give “Cleopatra” another chance. As the album’s first track, “Sleep On The Floor” began to play I was glad I did.
When I first listened to the album, I was in a hurry. I listened to the album expecting the same feel and tone of The Lumineers but perhaps with some new sound they were experimenting with or a new writing or singing style; I don’t know, something else.
I was expecting the same foot-stomping rhythms, the same joyous chanting, as well as the light and bright chord progressions that were prominent on various tracks on the first album released by The Lumineers but with something new.
But “Cleopatra” doesn’t provide anything that I expected. “Cleopatra” is not like “The Lumineers,” and it also it isn’t just “Slow It Down” with more echo. It’s heavier than what we saw previously from The Lumineers.
And while the elements that made us love The Lumineers are still present, such as the parlor-like piano and simplistic drums, things are different.
The chants are not prominent on this album as with the last one. We only hear Wes singing and telling us stories through poetry and music. The once welcoming, rhythmic and full acoustic guitar has been replaced by a bare electric guitar.
“The Lumineers” was a shout, a declaration of “We have arrived!” by the band. “Cleopatra” is quieter and is more in the realm of reflection and contemplation, worn and weighed down as opposed to upbeat and cheerful.
To listen to it while in a rush is a mistake and to go from a hyped Kanye West to “Angela” or “Gun Song” expecting to maintain the same excitement is also a mistake.
To appreciate the album for what it is, you have to slow down and really listen. While I was initially disappointed with the album, I have a newfound fondness of it.
While it isn’t my favorite album at the moment, and you could make the argument that it isn’t a great album, it’s still a really, really good one.
I would definitely recommend listening to it, but make sure you’re not in a hurry. Take the time to relax, reflect and appreciate this new, heavier, more melancholy step that The Lumineers are taking if you haven’t already done so. Don’t worry, the album isn’t all sad notes.
Sit in the light of the moon and put on your dramatic, pensive face and listen to what Wesley and the crew have to say to you.
And for you freshmen or those going to grad school next year, maybe you’ll be lucky enough to have The Lumineers’ third album released by the time you graduate.