The Lumineer's "Cleopatra"

New Music Review

The Lumineers: Cleopatra

Release Date: April 8th, 2016

Since the weather is looking none too promising in recent times, I thought it’d be best to appeal to some indoor activities. One of my personal favorites – sitting with a coffee in hand and a record on the player. So here’s an update on the newest of my collection, The Lumineers’ highly anticipated second album, Cleopatra.

The Lumineers have been a go-to band of mine since their self-titled, debut album first appeared in 2012. Such songs as “Flowers in Your Hair” and “Classy Girls” became anthems of my life’s soundtrack, and it seemed as if one couldn’t go anywhere without hearing “Ho Hey” played on a radio station, commercial, or movie soundtrack. The Denver based trio quickly established themselves amongst those leading the modern folk revival, offering light hearted, clap-along tunes in comparison with such counterparts as Mumford & Sons or the former Civil Wars. It’s been a few years since their last release, and the Lumineers have definitely taken that time to mature their sound.

I ended up breaking down and buying vinyl, and so glad I did. Look at it! It’s beautiful. The mixing and mingling of black and white and grey turns it into a smoky mirage on the turntable … most befitting for this album’s reminiscent and moody feel. While The Lumineers left me feeling cheerful and carefree (You can do some serious frolicking to this album. Trust me.), Cleopatra imparted a more wistful and melancholy effect. Though tracks such as “Ophelia” and “Cleopatra” provide the album with an upbeat lift, with lyrics such as “I was sad you asked it, as I laid in a black dress, With my father in a casket, I had no plans” and “I was late … for the love of my life … When I die alone… I’ll be on time” even the brightest tunes are imbued with darker tones. Common themes of love, loss, and the need to escape from suffocating life circumstances thread themselves throughout the album. The mistress of the album herself, Cleopatra, perpetuates these themes. She’s a glimpse into the once bright and glamorous hopes of ‘what could be,’ now a forlorn apparition from disappointments and chances not taken. The music itself is still brilliant as ever! The new album brings forth more of singer Wesley Shultz’s vocals but still holds on to that simple, almost echo-like acoustic sound that sets them apart from other folk bands.

The only thing that disappointed me about this album was the slight use of language. I was taken a little off guard, since the Lumineers’ debut album was decently clean in all aspects! Such are the times, I guess. In light of that critique, here are a handful of Christian artists similar to the Lumineers if you need that little bit of folk fix with a whole lot of soul: The Oh Hellos, Beta Radio, The Last Bison, Bryan John Appleby, Josh Garrels, Page CXVI, Levi Weaver.


Overall Rating: 4/5

Love the more mature tone that accompanies that stripped down, folk feel that the Lumineers have been crafting since their start. Didn’t appreciate the few bits and bobs of language.