The Lumineers play to their strengths

Cleopatra, the bands new album, builds on their earlier work.

courtesy Wikipedia Commons

“Cleopatra,” the band’s new album, builds on their earlier work.

“But I was late for this, late for that, late for the love of my life, / And when I die alone, when I die alone, when I die, I’ll be on time,” sings Wesley Schultz, the lead singer of the Lumineers.

The heart-wrenching lyrics of the titular track of the the band’s second album, “Cleopatra”, is evidence of the band’s ability to use a simple beat and acoustic instruments to create an emotionally resonating song.

“Sleep on the Floor,” the first track of the album, is reminiscent of their first hit, “Ho Hey”. Schultz’s vocals contain a sense of vulnerability and pain, while the accompanying guitar matches the slow and moving mood of the lyrics, which slowly fade out as Schultz cries, “’Cause if we don’t leave this town, / We might never make it out.”

The songs on the record tell a mixture of stories, from a taxi driver who can’t look at her passengers without being reminded of an old love to The Hunger Games’ own Gale Hawthorne. “Gale Song,” previously released on the “Catching Fire” soundtrack, isn’t immediately identifiable as the story of a fictional character. Much like the other songs, the track relates a sense of sorrow, weaving a tale of a brokenhearted man who “stood in line for love, but [he] let you go.” It’s a song meant for a late night and a broken heart.

Though this album is arguably similar to their debut, The Lumineers know how to use their strengths—a prominent beat, acoustic guitar and a background tambourine—which were present in almost every single song. Shultz’s vocals are unforgettable, as his voice delivers the band’s poetic lyrics and merges seamlessly with the accompanying instruments.

By the end of the album, the beats mellow out, creating a strictly acoustic setting where the vocals and guitar are the most prominent aspects of the song. The album ends on “Patience,” a song that contains only a calming piano melody that fades out before the end. The absence of drums is felt in the bonus tracks, as they rely on only guitar or piano melodies accompanied by Shultz’s vocals—a drastic step away from “Morning Song,” the last track of their debut album.

The Lumineers’ sound is not meant for everyone, but with “Cleopatra,” they show the growth of a band that figured out how to follow up a strong debut. “Cleopatra” is much like reading a collection of short stories. Every song has a character and its own plot, and just like a good book, it’s hard to put down.

Album: “Cleopatra”

Artist: The Lumineers

Release Date: April 8

Rating: 5/5