Review: The Lumineers’ long-awaited sophomore album does not disappoint


Maggie Kimber, Entertainment Editor


“Memory’s old, but I just can’t let it go,” sings The Lumineers’ lead vocalist Wesley Schultz in their song “In the Light.” This lyric adequately describes my feelings regarding the indie folk band’s self-titled debut, which had previously maintained a secure spot on my list of favorite albums of all time. Four years later and long since the days when their single “Ho Hey” ruled every radio station, the band has released another album entitled Cleopatra that successfully challenges its predecessor.

Despite the lyrical poeticism of the record’s tracks, perhaps the trio’s most impressive feat is their ability to produce musically varied tunes whilst simultaneously preserving their unique sound. The preliminary release of the single “Ophelia”– an upbeat, cautionary tale about young love – is what first sparked my excitement for Cleopatra. When I say that I probably listened to the song over a hundred times in the week following its release, it is not an exaggeration; and while I still haven’t grown tired of it, it effectively left me wanting more from The Lumineers.

The next single released was the album’s namesake, “Cleopatra”.  Schultz sings from a woman’s point of view about the hardships that result from her failed attempts at acting and love. While its literal meaning leans toward unconventional, it further establishes the group’s knack for musical storytelling, and its catchy chorus coupled with a major chord progression and upbeat rhythm disguise the otherwise somber song as fun and lighthearted.

The last single leading up to the release of the full album, “Angela,” kept with the trend of female names as titles, but differed from the other two in its more personal approach to the story being told. “Ophelia” and “Cleopatra” sing of the past and residual regret. “Angela,” however, takes a more hopeful approach to love, urging the subject of the song to come home from her extensive travels.

This exceptional trifecta of tracks served as an extended drumroll for the remainder of a similarly remarkable album. Lost love, travels, and stories from the past are among some of the record’s consistent themes. “Sleep On The Floor,” “Long Way From Home,” and “In The Light” feature entrancing melodies and well-written lyrics that easily stuck in my head and had me subconsciously humming throughout the day.

“Gale Song” and “Sick In The Head” steer toward a more moody and melancholy sound, with darker lyrics and slower tempos. Despite the contrast, both tracks stay on par with the dynamics of the other songs. “Gun Song” stood out for its metaphorical meaning and the ebb and flow of the guitar/piano duo that serves as the accompaniment. The simplistic, but still satisfying, sound of “My Eyes” left a similar impression.  

The album ends with an instrumental piece entitled “Patience,” which serves as the perfect conclusion to the long-awaited musical saga. With their sophomore album, The Lumineers have further established their individual sound; something that is not only difficult, but also rare when producing music in the indie folk genre. As a long time fan, I was extremely pleased with Cleopatra and find it to be the perfect soundtrack for the coming summer.

Rating: 9/10