The Lumineers - The Lumineers Album Review
The band behind the catchy beauty of a song on the current E.On Energy advert, Denver based folk trio The Lumineers' self-titled debut is a perfectly formed collection of rustic folk type songs, slotting in nicely amongst the current roots revival troops such as Of Monsters & Men and Mumford & Sons et al.
Opener 'Flowers In Your Hair' starts with a typically country folk picked guitar line and then finds its bite with the introduction of drums and strummed guitar at the chorus which pushes the pace into a Mumford-esque stomp accompanied by the gentle warming cello line of Neyla Pekarek. It's a short blast of a song that's evolved into the picked ukulele opening of 'Classy Girls' in the blink of an eye. 'Classy Girls' sounds like a live recording over the ambience of a bar to reflect the lyrics: 'classy girls don't kiss in bars you fools'. As with the previous track, the pace picks up and stomp kicks in later into the track; it's another simple and somewhat predictable blast of a song, just as 'Submarines' follows, yet with an energetic performance. 'Dead Sea' has a kind of flavour of what Kings of Leon may sound like if they went acoustic; the vocal tone with melodies that push Shultz's range is raw and slightly strained but nonetheless powerful.
Midway through the offering lies the irresistibly catchy 'Hey Ho' which is currently the soundtrack to the E.On Energy advert and possibly the track that may entice many into The Lumineers' sound. Opening with shouts of 'Hey... Ho' over gently strummed acoustic guitar and accented first beat of the bar percussion, the track moves through a simple verse into its beautiful, catchy, Ben Howard flavoured chorus; 'I belong with you, you belong to me, you're my sweetheart'. 'Hey Ho' also builds throughout and plays with another steady stomping pace and eclectic folk sound. As its title suggests, 'Slow It Down' then takes the vibe down-tempo to a really sluggish ballad. The warmth of the inclusion of strings akin to the gorgeous lines of Lisa Hannigan's cello alongside Damien Rice is particularly felt in 'Stubborn Love' which opens steadily paced and led by a beautiful soaring string melody but soon drives forward with a similar tempo and powerful, hopeful feeling to 'Hey Ho'.
'Big Parade' opens with vocals accompanied by offbeat clapping and has a rough ambience to its opening before a more delicate guitar-backed melody takes over and then pushes into a stomp. Again the endearing rustic honesty of The Lumineers is ever-present. The echoing gently picked ukulele introduction of 'Charlie Boy' then offers a contrast in tone, offering a more stripped back and gentle feel which is then joined by the cello. With no percussion and a more atmospheric, echoing feel, 'Charlie Boy' captures a really moving feeling and provides variation to the more simple stomping numbers of the album's opening numbers. The album's concluding track 'Morning Song' sounds The Lumineers plugged in, with a grungy bluesy electric guitar tone and a gruffer, angst ridden edge. A flavour of what's to come with album two, perhaps?
With the exception of the stunning 'Stubborn Love', on first listen the contents of The Lumineers' self-titled debut amount to nothing anywhere near the beauty of the gently stomping ear worm 'Hey Ho' but the songs are definitely growers and their simplicity and rustic honesty endearing and delightful.
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