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The Lumineers remain subpar with “Cleopatra”

After breaking out with worldwide success in 2012, the Lumineers return with failed expectations in their sophomore album “Cleopatra.”  |  musictimes.com

 

Based out of Denver, Colo. indie folk band The Lumineers are an enigma trying to escape a double-edged sword of criticism involving sameness and ambition. The twangy band, led by Wesley Schultz, cannot quite evolve their sound in “Cleopatra,” but give fans the same sounds that brought them success years ago.

Sophomore Album

When The Lumineers announced their sophomore album by releasing their single “Ophelia” on Feb. 11, fans were quite excited by the new release. “Ophelia” provided that same clap-along, stomp-your-feet vibe heard with “Ho Hey.” Although there are darker undertones to the band’s sound, Schultz still manages to shine through with the raw and contrastingly cheery vocals familiar in their debut. The slow building beat is effective, causing the chorus to come full circle in a thunderous manner.

Though the song was a sing-along hit, it still sat uncomfortably inside many. “Ophelia” sounds too familiar to “Ho Hey” and faces the possibility of being unfortunately overplayed on the radio — a curse that sadly swallowed “Ho Hey,” a song I initially loved then loved to hate.

The Hoped for Deviation

The Lumineers’ second single “Cleopatra” presented a little of the deviation I hoped for—a heavier, more bluesy sound. The percussions wheel through every moment, something they had success in their self-titled debut. The storyline presented in “Cleopatra” is morbid, yet you feel for Schultz and his yearning vocals accompany that blues vibe so well. “Cleopatra” is by far the best song on the album. Unfortunately there lacks much to say for the rest of the Lumineers’ sophomore release. Take the most trite folk songwriting, slip in every platitude and subtract all soul and the results are most of the album’s songs. A good 75 percent of the album sounds like one long droning sob story. Another negative to this album is the length of the album — a short 35 minutes, causing a forgettable listen.

Credit the The Lumineers because they did their due diligence in staying true to their folk roots and not dashing for the synth like fellow folk band Mumford and Sons. The droning sound is almost meditative on a down day for potential listeners.

Average yet Potential

Nevertheless, The Lumineers’ “Cleopatra” remains average despite the lack of percussion they produced in their debut album. The potential of two or three singles in this album helps prove this group is no flash in the pan like many one hit wonder folk bands.

Your Turn.  Post a Comment

  1. Jack Norman

    Technicalities and deeper critiques aside, I discovered the Lumineers and the Cleopatra album at the same time. Simply taking their offerings at face value I found them to be musically fresh and inventive and lyrically engaging on a nearly fairytale level. I agree with Mr. Kohner, Cleopatra is by far the standout of this album. I did not share the enthusiasm for Ophelia that some have expressed, but reserved second place for Sleep On The Floor and Sick In The Head. April 18, 2016

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