Years of waiting, patiently tapping my fingers and harmoniously contributing the ‘Ho’ to The Lumineers’ ‘Hey.’ At some point during this lifeless duration, shit hit the fan, and an internal scream cried, “WHERE DID THESE MUSICAL SUPERHUMANS GO? COME BACK. WE BEGGETH.”
On the fourth year since their debut effort, the folk-loving based Gods respond. The Lumineers’ sophomore album, Cleopatra, came out last Friday, and the world finally regained some order.
And like hell, it was worth the wait.
Those who fell in love with The Lumineers’ sound after their monster debut album in 2012 will not be disappointed. Cleopatra possesses the same raw and wistful sound that enticed so many listeners before. Comprised of guitar strums, stomp claps, snare rolls and piano melodies, the band stuck to its fundamental principles that were originally created in a small dining room setting in Colorado after a shared tragedy.
Returning to a Woodstock-isolation to produce their second album, the authenticity is almost tangible. From the first strum of “Sleep On The Floor,” the opening track, the album delivers the familiar sound we have been living far too long without. Immediately, all of your dormant feels are released. The Lumineers are still kicking.
Progressing through the album, it’s evident that although their sound has remained beautifully static, The Lumineers have brought more to the table. It’s the subject matter that’s changed. The shit’s deep, reaching wider than the lyrics on their first album.
Among the rich and simple sounds, you can hear the surroundings, thoughts, passions and hardships that inspired each meaning behind every song. It makes life’s complexities simple. The lyrics embody a more adventurous mindset about embracing new freedoms and a greater relationship with nature.
The sweet yet heartbreaking track, “Angela,” refers to a girl (perhaps the same ‘Angie’ alluded to in their previous album) who is leaving something difficult behind in order to embrace the enigma of her mind, “with [her] windows down/ And the wilderness inside.” It also could be no coincidence that the bridge “home at last” simultaneously sounds like the word “hopeless.”
Additionally, the title song “Cleopatra” was inspired by a conversation with a taxi driver about a personal tragedy, affirming the notion of confronting life without a hint of self-pity. “Ophelia,” the first single off the album, references the consequences of people falling in love with fame. But this concept could be the reason why Cleopatra stands proudly with its unchanging sound that sets this band apart from the rest.
Fame isn’t convincing enough. They kept us waiting a little longer in order to release something they believed in, something that belonged to them and wasn’t a mere response to stardom. And for that, my trust is theirs.
Even the alluring piano outro on the last track “Patience” has me smiling like an idiot as I walk to class with my headphones in. But maybe that smile wouldn’t be as strong had they dropped the album sooner rather than later.
It’s safe to say that the upcoming weeks will be consumed with listening to and interpreting Cleopatra. Hopefully my dorm mates don’t mind, but I’ll let it be a gift to them.
Scratch that, this music deserves more than blasting it from a dying speaker atop my microwave. I need to drive with this album, windows down and absorbing this band in all it’s glory.
Then, the world will know the absolute perfection that is Cleopatra.