Music Scene: The Lumineers' Cleopatra an album of quality and finesse

The Lumineers' uncluttered approach to songwriting is immensely apparent on Cleopatra
John Kearns

THE Lumineers return with an excellent new album, Cleopatra. The band who gave us the evergreen and relentlessly catchy Ho Hey have totally fulfilled the early potential and promise of their debut and delivered an album of real quality and finesse.

It's crystal clear that 'that difficult second album syndrome' didn't manage to track down the Colorado band while they set about putting together chapter two.

In between records they have been busy writing songs for a variety of other projects such as soundtrack contributions to the likes of The Walking Dead and The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part One.

What I like about The Lumineers is their simplistic and uncluttered approach to songwriting, something that is immensely apparent on Cleopatra. The band's songs don't fall into any particular category – if you were streaming music by genre, you could encounter them in rock, pop, folk, country, indie and still be none the wiser.

One thing that is for sure though is their distinct ability to knock out pure melodies that linger long after the song finishes, as is their inherent knack of knowing that less is more in terms of arrangement and production.

The beautifully haunting Ophelia is a piano-driven sing a long that is bright and breezy but also manages to serve up a large helping of melancholy. Musically it unfolds like Country meets Ragtime with that Lumineers' signature descending chorus – Nashville moves to New Orleans but it all makes perfect creative sense.

The album's title track is again a powerfully catchy song that mixes understated electric guitar with a plaintive vocal and reminds me of Bob Dylan. Another song that deserves a nod is Angela which also boasts melodies so strong and simple that the verses are every bit as arresting as the chorus, something which this band seem to be able to fashion with the greatest of ease.

The production duties have fallen again to Ryan Hadlock who steered the band's debut album to platinum selling success. With Cleopatra, The Lumineers and Hadlock have adopted the same artistic stance in terms of undiluted, pure songwriting and recording but have moved forward too it seems, drawing from a wider spectrum of musical colours and advancing their talents with a more enhanced and notably deeper sound.

The album is released in the US today and will be available worldwide at the end of April.

The guys have also sold out two nights at Dublin's Olympia Theatre this month.


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