The Lumineers: Cleopatra

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lumineersThe Lumineers
Cleopatra
(Dualtone)

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It’s been four full years since The Lumineers debuted their first, self-titled LP in the spring of 2012 and we all got their hit song “Ho Hey” permanently lodged in our brains. Their follow-up album, Cleopatra, which recently debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart, contains just as many ear-wormy tunes and soulful Americana as their fantastic debut.

Though the band chose “Ophelia,” a decent, upbeat and fairly catchy tune as their first single, I’d personally have gone with the title track, “Cleopatra.” This song is highly infectious, seeming to call everyone to come and dance. The lyrics are wonderful as well; I just adore the alliteration of lines like “I was late for this, late for that, late for the love of my life” and the way it rolls off lead singer Wesley Schultz’s tongue.

Though these catchy, toe-tappers are what brought The Lumineers to the mainstream, I feel this band’s real strength lies in their quieter songs. “Long Way from Home,” with its simple melody and intricate guitar picking reminds me a lot of Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah.” It’s so simple, but it really stays with you. Similarly, songs like “Gale Song” and “My Eyes” are slow and methodical. You can tell that the band is comfortable with the breaths and pauses because it knows that that’s where the real soulfulness lies – in the spaces between the notes. “In the Light” is another relatively quiet gem, with its piano playing and double-time tapping percussion, giving off a bit of a funky, ‘70s vibe (Paul Simon’s “Kodachrome” comes to mind).

There are moments when the slight hipsterness of the band personally annoys me, like on “Gun Song,” where he refers to a girl he likes as his “sweetheart.” (Quit it, you’re from New Jersey, not Dust Bowl-era Kansas.) But these moments of annoyance are few and far between and probably just personal irritations of my own from living in Brooklyn too long.

In general though, this is a perfectly lovely album with a good number of outstanding tracks that should appeal to the indie and mainstream music-listening crowds alike. So roll up your pant cuffs, don your ironic suspenders, and join in the genuine fun of The Lumineers’ new album, Cleopatra.

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Julie Kocsis is Associate Editor and a contributing writer of ShortAndSweetNYC.com. Living in Brooklyn, she works for Penguin Random House during the day and writes about rock bands at night. In addition to her many band interviews as well as album and concert reviews that have been published on ShortAndSweetNYC.com, she has also been published on The Huffington Post, Brooklyn Exposed and the Brooklyn Rail.

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