Three years after the release of their debut album, The Lumineers have returned with their second record, and boy, is it an interesting one.
The immediate dilemma that arises when clicking play is resisting the overwhelming urge to play the first three tracks on an infinite loop, because they’re just so damn good. ‘Sleep On The Floor’ inducts us to this sophomore record with jangly major chords, supported by the familiar warmth of that classic Lumineers kick-drum-tambourine duo and followed swiftly by the head-bobbing piano riffs of ‘Ophelia’. The lead track ‘Cleopatra’ is catchy, bringing summery road trip vibes and the promising us more of the same.
However, as we move through the album, it becomes clear that this band are trying something a little different for their second time around the block. The energy fully settles down around the sixth song, favouring melancholic sentiments and moody electric guitars over their signature party band feel. They follow this trend right to the end of the line and finish with a wistful piano outro entitled ‘Patience’, a sweet finale to what is ultimately a strong album. You can definitely still tell it’s the same band who released ‘Ho Hey’, but this second record is feels as though it’s coming from a band who have grown up a little bit.
Wesley Schultz’s voice is still as wonderful as it always was, that scratchy distortion adding a little rock flair to what is basically a Folk record. The lyrics drip with worldly wisdom, providing a little calm after the storm of their first release. A moodier, more sophisticated vibe is often a popular choice for the second album and these guys execute it wonderfully, but to the ‘occasional’ Lumineers listener, this change in mood will probably serve as a little bit of a disappointment.
Whether or not you like this album basically just depends on what you want from the band. To the die-hard listener after some of the poetic lyrical gold dust these people seem to sprinkle onto just about everything they make, this more grown-up approach will be an exciting and unexpected twist on their folky debut. However, to someone who literally only knows of this band because they heard ‘Ho Hey’ on one of their favourite American TV dramas, they’ll no doubt be hankering for a little more of the cheerful, festival vibe that brought them here.
On the whole, it’s a solid record. Sadly, you can’t please everyone, but this album will definitely please a few.
Words by Sam Hoare