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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    The Lumineers latest album “Cleopatra” may not take over the airwaves but still delivers the goods

    David Lee (CC BY 2.0)
    The Lumineers performing at Sasquatch in 2013.

    Sometimes when you wake up, you find yourself in a folk rock mood. Whether this happens to you or not, you should still check out American indie folk rock band The Lumineers.

    The group, which rose to prominence in 2012 with its hit single “Ho Hey,” released its second album Friday, titled Cleopatra. The album cover contains a photograph of the actress Theda Bara from the 1917 film “Cleopatra,” the source of the album’s title.

    This new album shows a promising future of the band. All singles eventually dwindle in popularity, so after the hype of “Ho Hey” died down a few years ago, nobody knew whether The Lumineers would remain a force in popular folk rock or simply fizzle out as a one-hit wonder. Luckily for fans of the band, this new album implies the band will stay for the long haul.

    A lot goes on in this album, including stories that may be hard to discern on first listen. The album has a contemplative nature and the vocal work of frontman Wesley Schultz makes one think and reflect on past experiences while listening.

    A feeling of becoming “trapped” in the place you grew up in or somewhere you don’t belong becomes a prevalent theme as the album progresses, which is evident in tracks such as “Sleep On The Floor” and “Long Way From Home.” Themes such as these may become evident in pretty much every folk album, but The Lumineers find a way to keep them fresh.

    This album is more contemplative and meditative than the band’s initial, self-titled album. No single track reaches the hit single aura that characterized “Ho Hey,” but the album still contains impressive songs.

    Interestingly, three songs on the album are titled with names of women. Although naming a song after a woman happens a lot in music, having three of these songs on an 11-track album is slightly excessive.

    We get to know “Ophelia,” “Angela” and, of course, “Cleopatra” — all three of the album’s singles, oddly enough. “Angela,” in particular, has a catchy, powerful beat and is the best of the bunch.

    “Cleopatra” also captivates with its depiction of the evils of fame, while “Ophelia” delivers, especially when Schultz sings “Ophelia, heaven help a fool who falls in love.”

    The album does not break any significant new ground, but The Lumineers still put out a solid effort that will surely show the band is more than just a one-hit wonder. Even though strong singles such as “Angela” and “Ophelia” do not quite have the star power of “Ho Hey,” The Lumineers succeeded with this release and the album’s slow-moving tunes and heartfelt lyrics will impress old fans, as well as attract new ones.

    Cleopatra may not be the best album of the year, but it signifies a step in the right direction for The Lumineers.

    Grade: B+

    Follow Alec Kuehnle on Twitter.

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