The Lumineers / “The Lumineers” / Review
Read it on The GROUND Magazine
Welcome to Denver, Colorado, United States of America. Here, the roots of folk-rock have been rising from the ground to grasp a spot in the music industry thanks to The Lumineers. They are storytellers, singing about classy girls who don’t want to kiss in bars, submarines in the depth of the sea, love, adventures, American folklore, and ultimately simplicity. When a debut album like this manages to peak at number 11 on the Billboard chart it means that sometimes you just don’t need over the top and complicated productions to create a unique, enjoyable, and emotional record like this self-titled album.
Member Jeremiah Caleb Fraites stated “We’re not reinventing the wheel or doing anything that different, the songs are super simple. The ideas themselves are very simple ideas. Anyone who can play an instrument can play a Lumineers song. I think there’s a certain cinematic aspect of our music that i really like”. This cinematic aspect is clearly visible if you just close your eyes and listen to the songs, they feel like coming out from a soundtrack of a film. The cover of the album as well is a beautiful black and white shot from a far away époque, a slice of America that we can taste through their music.
Wesley, Jeremiah, and Neyla, third member met thanks to a post on Craiglist as they were looking for a cellist, open with “Flowers in Your Hair”, and so begins this folk-pop festival of guitars, bouzouki, mandolin, hand claps, and banjo like in the hit leading single “Ho Hey”, where the simple chorus “I belong with you, you belong with me, you’re my sweetheart” is so passionate, and so uncontrollable to make it the most shared song in Manhattan through Spotify.
“Dead Sea” becomes a beautiful metaphor, “You told me I was like the Dead Sea, you’ll never sink when you are with me. I’m like the Dead Sea, the finest words you ever said to me” and they definitely are the finest lyrics for a love song. Second single “Stubborn Love” is desperate and haunting “it’s better to feel pain than nothing at all, the opposite of love’s indifference, so pay attention now, I’m standing on your porch screamin out and I won’t leave until you come downstairs”. The folklorist vibe of the vocals makes each track rise and you are left with a yearning to sing and clap your hands like in “Big Parade”.
After the story of Angie in the slow ballad “Slow It Down”, where the image of Angie resting her arms and legs is so perfectly conveyed through the lyrics, and “Charlie Boy” where war is the theme, this picturesque album closes with “Morning Song”, infused with that Hollywood like “to be continued…” feeling that heartbreaking songs have. The Lumineers’ career may be only at chapter one but these guys will have many other chapters and stories to unfold in the future.
They started by investing money to record this album first, a way to produce what they really wanted to do without any influence by the recording label. The result has been overwhelming and unexpected, but this is life and what they sing about. Everyday life experiences of joy and pain reminding us with their stripped down sound that life is not as complicated as we too much often want to think it is. So let’s just enjoy the ride, this film, this simple music for an almost out-of-the-body experience.