The Student Union gallery is now showing an exhibition by the Camera Club called Through Our Eyes. The reception was Wednesday Sept. 28 and the show will continue to run through Oct. 19. Cody Swanson is the former President of the Camera Club and he says any Camera Club member has the opportunity to submit…
You may have heard of Mick Jenkins this year with features on Noname’s album Telefone and Chance the Rapper’s discarded Coloring Book song ‘Grown Ass Kid,’ but if you’re not familiar with Mick Jenkins here is a rundown.
Mick Jenkins is a 25 year-old Chicago based rapper. Despite popping up in 2012, he’s had a prolific career with a project at least once a year, his most popular being 2014’s The Water[s] and his 2015 follow-up Wave[s]. He is known for his heavy wordplay and verses interwoven with metaphors, and he manages to deliver raps with his unique style without it being too much of an earful. Usually rapping over a Jazz Era or Chicago Blues style beat, Jenkins produces more vibe songs than bangers.
Mick Jenkin’s debut album “The Healing Component” released on September 23, 2016. The album features an army of collaborators including THEMpeople, Sango, BADBADNOTGOOD, Kaytranada, and others alongside performers including theMIND, Noname, and several others. The album art depicts a human heart, muscles, veins and ventricles all present meant to depict a more accurate version of love. The acronym of The Healing Component spells out THC. Before you jump to conclusions, know that this album is more about love and Jesus than it is about cannabis. Jenkins makes the analogy of marijuana’s healing components to that the healing components of love.
The project starts off with a dialogue between Jenkins and a woman discussing the vagueness of our understanding of love. The conversation carries on throughout the project to guide the listener on the concepts and different types of love. While these dialogues are reminiscent to that of the 1998 album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” overall it fails to leave a big impact.
The first track starts off strong with Jenkins wasting no time. As soon as the first verse ends, the hook starts with loud horns and a chant from Jenkins, akin to a church choir. The next song on the track list is the crux of the project titled ‘Spread Love,’ dominated by a lengthy chorus spaced with two short but great verses by Jenkins over a moody beat. Quite simply, this song is butter, so give it a listen.
‘Drowning,’ featuring BBNG (BADBADNOTGOOD), is one of the strongest tracks on the project. It starts with an eerie, hypnotizing metronome eventually followed up by echoey vocals that linger in your ear. Throughout the track, the instruments from BBNG begin to break loose until finally forming together to make a bittersweet short free jazz track near the four minute mark. The words “I can’t breathe” pops up through most of the song as a reference to Eric Garner and to his 2014 mixtape The Water[s]. What seems like an epilog track, Jenkins is drowning in the water or the truth that he always references.
Around this point in the album, Jenkins starts experimenting with newer sounds on instrumentals with songs like ‘As Seen in Bethsaida’ and ‘Communicate,’ a song that vibes like a neo-soul and house mash up with rap in between.
Although I enjoyed ‘Communicate’ and ‘Plugged,’ at this point in the album I began to disconnect a little from the album. The instrumentals and content weren’t leaving much of an impression. The next couple of songs seem to lose the vibrancy and dynamics of the first half of the album. Most of these songs play on the lower end of the frequency and blend a little too much with Jenkins’ deep vocals. It was difficult for me to distinguish a difference and I eventually began to zone out.
The album wraps up with ‘Angles,’ featuring Noname and Xavier Omar discussing the multiple perspectives of oneself. The last track on the album, titled ‘Fucked Up Outro’ speaks on his journey up to this point in his career. This leaves us in the same position from when we started the album; love is still a vague concept.
Maybe I had hoped to have been hit with some profound revelation or perspective on love, but Jenkins didn’t really introduce anything new to the conversation. I appreciate the positivity and the message of the album, but overall it just fell short on the expectations the first half of the project set up for me. While there was a handful of tracks that I loved, there was about an equal amount that I didn’t care for. Despite the passes, the couple of hits still make the album worth some rotation.
Favorite Tracks: The Healing Component, Spread Love, Drowning, Communicate, Angles
Least Favorite Tracks: 1000 Xans, Prosperity
Having fun on a budget can be difficult, especially for a college student. After paying for school supplies, books and parking permits, paying one dollar for anything sounds unreal. With Halloween around the corner, this is the perfect time for the Wendy Williamson Auditorium to host one-dollar movie nights every Tuesday starting this October through…
Reviewing two zombie movies in a row seems excessive, but hear me out. “JeruZalem” is another in a long line of Israeli genre flicks to come out in the past few years. This one, especially, has gotten a moderate amount of buzz, so why not watch it? Well, because it’s terrible. Even the good parts…
Williwaw and Showdown Productions bring Grieves to Alaska
Grieves is coming to the Williwaw on Oct. 8, and his show is being opened by a local rapper, Ben Swann the MastaDon. Swann is 27 years old and was born and raised in Anchorage. Swann has been rapping since his middle school days, and while he is not a student of UAA, he is…
With so many talented artists and musicians in Anchorage, it can be hard at times to be able to get one’s art or music shown, which is exactly why First Friday exists. Essentially, this event occurs on the first Friday of every month in participating local businesses across Anchorage. Each business features an artist and…
Granddad, Dutchess and Harm at TapRoot
Zombies have been done time again and again. “Maggie” and “World War Z,” while not great, managed to inject some originality into the genre. “Train to Busan” combines the emotional core of “Maggie” with the third act intensity of “World War Z,” and builds on them. It’s more action than horror, but the action sequences…
A preview into UAA’s homecoming week
With so many grim movies being released, a crowd-pleaser feels taboo. Even superhero flicks like “Captain America: Civil War” and “Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice” felt dark. The latter more so than the former. Too much of that, however, is alienating. That’s why it’s nice, every once and a while, to find a movie…
Icelandic humor has got to be the darkest kind of humor out there. Looking at the country’s history, it makes sense: in around 1260, deforestation, volcanic eruptions, and infertile soil ravaged the land. In the 15th century, the Black Plague hit twice, wiping out entire generations of settlers. One third of those bloodlines who survived would be killed by small pox three hundred years later.
It’s no wonder, then, that “Rams” is barely a comedy by American standards. To call it “bleak” would be an understatement. Director Grimur Hakonarson makes Iceland’s empty interior as much a character as the assiduous Gummi (Sigurour Sigurjonsson, “Brave Men’s Blood”) and his estranged, hard-drinking brother, Kiddi (Theodor Juliusson, “The Deep”).
The two of them are farmers. For 40 years, they haven’t spoken a word to each other despite being neighbors. The only thing they have in common is their undying love for their sheep. When scrapie, an incurable nervous system disease, sweeps through their herds, the brothers find that they can’t deal with the plague alone.
There’s a great deal of unexpressed love between Gummi and Kiddi. But “Rams” makes a point of intertwining love and death. One does not, and cannot, exist without the other. In the opening scene, Gummi goes from nuzzling his prize ram to finding that one of his brother’s sheep has died. By the time Kiddi is introduced, the metaphor is clear. The title “Rams” is not about the rams at all, it’s about the brothers.
In 90 percent of their interactions, they butt heads, just like the animals they shepherd. It’s an on-the-nose metaphor, and one that’s done well. But Gummi and Kiddi’s relationship feels oversimplified because of it. Since their past is explored only vaguely, their arcs don’t have the cathartic quality that director Hákonarson attributes to them.
Of course, this all sounds very dark. And it is, but it’s also funny. It’s a desert-dry kind of humor, one that sneaks up on you. That stealthy quality makes the “gags” all the more hilarious. One of the darkest moments in the movie, how Gummi deals with his infected flock, for example, is immediately undercut by one of the funniest moments in the movie.
In the end, “Rams” is a movie for a particular mindset. It’s about as bleak as tragicomedies gets. From the barren setting of rural Iceland to the long, dialogue-free stretches that punctuate it, the movie lifts its desolation up. After all, if you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you, so why not laugh at it?
Taproot’s first ever Fall Music Festival
The Blockbuster on Northern Lights is closing. That means that there are four Blockbusters left in the state. While that number is higher than the rest of the nation, it is inevitably dwindling. From 1997, the time my family moved to Alaska, until just last week, I went to either the Northern Lights or Debarr…
The anticipated release of Turquoise Boy’s debut album
A glimpse into all of the musicians, bands and comedians that will be present at the 2016 Alaska State Fair
As I see it, there are two stages to watching a great movie: recognition and surrender. Recognition is simply knowing you’re watching something great, but surrender is giving yourself over to it. “The Wailing” is recognizably great from the jump, but surrender comes during a climactic scene 40 minutes in. In this sequence, the movie…
On a quest though downtown Anchorage to find the best reindeer hot dog.
2016 has been an incredible year for music so far. Numerous releases have been anticipated, celebrated, reviewed, and done with. From Beyonce’s “Lemonade,” a stark portrayal of infidelity, to Kanye West’s insult-laden and mesmerizingly controversial “The Life of Pablo,” the year has not been short of talking points. Those are just the big ones. Just…
Independently produced and created by Roman Mars, ‘99% Invisible’ uncovers the thoughts that go into the everyday things we never think about. Steering wheels? Drinking fountains? Flag design? Secret staircases and abandoned phone booths in the middle of the desert? The possibilities are endless with this podcast; now one of the most popular on iTunes with over 80 million downloads. You’ll come out of every episode with new knowledge on something you didn’t even know you cared about.
‘Cameras or Whatever’ is great podcast made by photographers for photographers. Tyler Stalman and Cameron Whitman, both of whom work at Stocksy.com, deliver insightful conversation about what it’s like to be a working professional in the photography industry, as well as express their thoughts and excitement about wide variety of photo equipment ranging from film cameras, lighting and video gear. If these sorts of things interest you, then check out this podcast.
Just in time for election season, comedians W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu share their curiosity about the political process and the ever-changing landscape in “Politically Re-Active.” Bell and Kondabolu attempt to find the answers to all of the questions Americans have, particularly when they ask “why?” Why can it be so hard to vote? Why do super delegates exist? Why is dog whistling still a thing (and what is it?)? The current election craziness may be exhausting to view through mass media, but by breaking down the most confusing ideals into informative and hilarious discussions, “Politically Re-Active” hopes to open your eyes to the often mysterious elements of our electoral process.
Title: “The Salvation”
Director: Kristian Levring
Release date: May 22, 2014
Rating: 2 out of 5
“The Salvation” is anything but
By Jacob Holley-Kline
There are a lot of ways to squander a good cast. When this happens, it’s forgivable if one actor can’t shoulder the narrative weight of their cast mates. But if there’s no weight to the movie to begin with, is there really anything to waste? Enter “The Salvation,” a bloodless Western out of Denmark. It manages to waste veteran actors Mads Mikkelsen and the already underutilized Eva Green. Both of them work with what they’ve got. It’s just that they’re not given much.
It’s a sad thing, too, because it starts out well. Set in the American west, Jon (Mads Mikkelsen, “Men & Chicken”), a Danish immigrant and former soldier, exacts vengeance for the murder of his recently arrived wife and son. Among his victims is the brother of Henry Delarue (Jeffrey Dean Morgan, “Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice”), a vicious oil baron. With a stranglehold on Jon’s frontier town, Delarue sets out to avenge his brother.
The first red flag comes right at the beginning. A few paragraphs of text fill in Jon and his brother Peter’s (Mikael Persbrandt, “Alone in Berlin”) recent past. This is a hokey move, especially since the brothers’ backstory is brought up later regardless. Even so, the movie begins well. It races through the opening scenes. At such a pace, there must be a lot of story to cover, right? Wrong.
“The Salvation” quickly exhausts any momentum it has. Jon’s wife and kid are killed before they’re given any kind of life. The fact that they’re related to Jon is supposed to lend them importance, but their lack of character comes off as lazy. In this way, the movie is so quick to get to the action that it forgets to make any of it feel important. There are no stakes, no reason to be invested. Jon is barely a character, and his struggle is ill-defined. Because of this, his actions are alienating. There’s no nuance to how he dispenses justice. Everyone gets the same treatment, no matter their transgression. This works against viewers’ sympathies.
Beside him, Jeffrey Dean Morgan is even worse. Delarue is a villain who was once a good man. An interesting character is there. Morgan, however, doesn’t have the charisma to play him.
Above all, Eva Green is the most egregiously underused actor in the cast. As the mute Madelaine, she has no lines. Her career-defining performance as Vanessa Ives on Showtime’s “Penny Dreadful” prove that she deserves more than this.
What a disappointing and spiritless journey “The Salvation” turns out to be. It begins with promise, but wastes no time in squandering that. A weak script does the mostly talented cast no favors. The great Mads Mikkelsen and Eva Green are both shockingly boring. Even less accomplished actors, like Morgan, fall by the wayside. “The Salvation” seems to bore its actors, so why should viewers feel differently?
Growing up in Dillingham and in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska, Apayo Moore found love in arts and craft with a culture and family deeply rooted in salmon.
“When we were small, my family (aunts, uncles, cousins, mom) would make crafts that my grandma would bring to Anchorage to sell at Alaska Federation of Natives, the hospitals, and wherever else she could pull them out in business offices to peddle. I remember always being welcome to join in craft making. Even if it was making strings of boring necklaces and bracelets that didn’t match. For fun we would make beaded jewelry and to encourage us, my grandma would add things that we made to the collection of things to sell. She carried several different envelopes to put each persons money in as an accounting system,” Moore said.
Beginning with crafts, Moore spent her formative years discovering new artistic mediums when she found painting to be the most efficient way to express herself.
“As a young child, my artistic talent wasn’t focused. Started school and did the usual art projects. My dad noticed that I was ahead of the game with my drawing talent when I was 5. From there they encouraged drawing, but crafts were always a large part of my life in play,” Moore said. “I also took home economics and we had sewing projects that helped foster visualization and building skill for symmetry and pattern. I also took wood shop, which I believe helped me on an artistic level as well. And of course, our high school art class, that covered ceramics, painting, drawing and the basics. By the time I got to college, painting was the most sensible way to affordably practice the sale of my “craft.” It had the least amount of tools and art was quick to produce. So my background with art, in short, is it has always been a part of my life in vocational skill, as someone who was taught to live in rural Alaska.”
In rural Alaska, Moore’s family sustained their life on salmon through commercial fishing in Bristol Bay.
“Salmon were the main means of income for my family, all around. My aunts, uncles, grandparents, and parents all commercial fished. I myself was raised partially on my dad’s fishing boat. If my time on the boat was limited to just weeks out of the year, the profoundness of those short weeks made more of a difference in my character than several months throughout the rest of the year, for sure,” Moore said.
Moore’s grandmother was in charge of the family’s subsistence catch, where she would gather salmon from their cabin on the Wood River. Moore spent a part of her summers with her grandparents at the cabin, a highlight in Moore’s life.
“I remember my dad helping her to get set up and when we would spend portions of our summers with her. My papa was in charge of shooting the “bear gun.” It was a highlight (for the kids at least) to see the bears. Of course, our grandparents dreaded losing all that work to bears, when they did succeed in breaking into the smoke house or drying rack. I had very minimal subsistence harvesting experience until after college, but have always been the beneficiary of eating the salmon throughout the winter through my grandma’s subsistence,” Moore said.
Later in life, Moore joined the family business and commercial drift fished with her father for several summers. She also commercial set net fished in Ekuk, AK for a number of years.
After college, Moore worked for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game as a salmon tower technician. She counted the salmon that went up the river, determining the escapement of the salmon that commercial fishing openers are based off of.
“That job taught me a more scientific standpoint of the salmon in our region.”
More had gained the experience and knowledge that equipped her to work as the Education and Outreach Coordinator for Nunamta Aulukestai, Caretakers of our Land. In this position, Moore was able to familiarize herself with the Pebble Mine project and inform the public on the threat the project had to the subsistence lifestyle of those in the Bristol Bay area.
“Then later in college, I really dove into the the heart of why salmon are important by combining everything that I knew and felt about them,” Moore said. “It was my job to inform the public why it was a bad idea and it’s threat to our subsistence lifestyle, and especially the devastation it would cause to our dependence on salmon through the impacts it would pose to salmon habitat and rearing streams. This job changed my life and how I express myself in a meaningful way, for sure.”
Today, Moore is digging deeper into her roots and learning more about subsistence and traditional ways of handling salmon.
“I have spent the last couple of years learning about how to process my own salmon through subsistence, learned my mom’s way of putting up fish for smoking, canning and filleting for the freezer fish,” Moore said.
Moore is fortunate enough to have multiple perspectives on the fish that has shaped her art and her life. From the scientific perspective to the meaning of the salmon in the wintertime in rural Alaska, Moore has intention and heart that is evident in her art.
“Salmon mean more to me than the literal term, salmon. This reflection is based on years of self analyzing and observation of my own behavior and thoughts through each salmon experience, as well as what I’ve witnessed and experienced with my peers. I definitely credit the fight against Pebble Mine as a turning point in the way my self-expression through art has evolved to what it is today,” Moore said.
Moore currently resides in Aleknagik, AK. One can find Moore painting, making originally designed t-shirts, working on murals and taking graphic design commissions, as well as taking on many other forms of arts and crafts.
Moore’s work and contact information is best displayed on her website, apayoart.com.
Moving here in 1983 after finishing art school, Ray Troll became completely immersed in the Alaska fish culture. The fish, and ultimately the salmon, infiltrated Troll’s art as he was surrounded by them in his new Alaskan home. He’s been producing fish inspired art ever since.
“My sister Kate brought me up here and had a job for me right out of art school. She was running a little retail store selling fish so I came up to sell fish,” Troll said. “Being a fishmonger, but really an artist, I just started looking at fish after landing in the middle of this fish culture on the coast. Being Alaskan, you’re just kind of around fish a lot. So, it just kind of began taking over my artwork. It’s not the only thing I do, but it’s kind of the bread and butter of what I do, so yeah, it all leads back to the fish.”
Living in Alaska, especially in it’s coastal regions, fish are a large part of society, Whether that be political, how you make a living, fishing for fun, or even expressing it’s existence through art forms. The salmon is all around.
“There’s the commercial side of it, people making a living with it. The sport side of it, people having fun with it. The science side of it, people doing the science on it. The management side of it, the fish and game, the politics of it. The art of it, the culture of it. You name it, there’s all these sides to it. Forgive the pun, but I sort of swam through all those topics,” Troll said.
One project that stands out to Troll in his work so far is Ketchikan’s salmon bus. Troll, in collaboration with Memo Jauergui, hand-painted the city bus in Ketchikan.
Another important project that Troll collaborated with Jauergui in doing is stage art at the annual Salmonfest in Ninilchick, AK.
Troll, along with his wife, own a gallery in their hometown of Ketchikan, AK. Along with T-shirts and original art by Troll, the couple also sells art, ceramics, and curiosities curated from all local artists. The Soho Coho gallery has been open for nearly 25 years. Find more of Ray Troll’s work by visiting his website, trollart.com
Title: “So Young”
Director: Zhao Wei
Release date: June 14, 2013
Rating: 3 out of 5
To give credit where credit’s due, “So Young,” a Chinese romantic comedy, works hard to separate itself from the crowd. It’s not quite a romantic comedy, or a drama, or a melodrama. It’s a blend of all three. Together, those genres can be hokey, and the movie certainly has hokey moments. But its commitment to those moments is fierce.
On the surface, “So Young” is your typical romance. Zheng Wei (Zishan Yang, “Battle of Memories”), an incoming freshman, arrives at her college. When she meets her three eccentric roommates, Ruan Guan (Shuying Jiang, “House of Wolves”), Li Weiyang (Yao Zhange, “Love, at First”) and Xu Kaiyang (Ryan Zheng, “Running Lover”), she discovers that college is nothing like she imagined it would be.
Truthfully, the plot is thin. It mainly focuses on Zheng’s relationship with Chen Xiaozheng (Mark Chao, “Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe”) with detours into other characters’ lives. It lacks the focus of the more adult “In the Mood For Love,” but compensates with the meandering spirit of “American Graffiti.” With such a large cast of characters, balancing stories is a question of thematic importance.
What’s important here is that everyone overreacts. Characters don’t talk so much as spar. Each interaction is a fight or, at the very least, a heated disagreement. That kind of manic energy is hard to maintain, even in a melodrama, and the movie does suffer for it. Characters’ relationships seem to change on a dime.
One minute, Chen loves Zheng, but the next, he shuns her. Can that momentum truly be contained? With director Wei’s religious adherence to melodrama, the answer is a resounding yes. It is so consistently over-the-top that it ceases to be weird. Wei imbues each confrontation with a restless longing, something genuine underneath the artifice. Truly, the movie is an escape in the purest terms.
Wei takes the movie, adapted from the Chinese novel “To Our Youth that is Fading Away” by Xin Yiwu, a step further. She includes character back stories and an epilogue where other romantic comedies would roll the credits.
However strange it sounds, “So Young” is immensely ambitious, and it mostly pays off. The clumsy exposition and ridiculous drama combine to make something fresh. All the same, the movie gets tired halfway through its two hour length. When every conversation is a shouting match, it’s hard to tell what’s truly important.
In the end, “So Young” is an interesting addition to the romantic comedy genre. It adheres to the genre’s tropes, but takes them a step further. Often, the plot veers gracelessly, and characters lack consistency, but damn if it isn’t a fun time. While Wei doesn’t reach the fantastical heights she aims for, it’s hard to deny that she gets close. If that’s not ambitious, I don’t know what is.
In the fall of 2015, after announcing that he will be leaving the world-renowned boy band One Direction to focus on his solo career and to live a more ‘private’ life, Zayn Malik got the exact opposite. When I first heard that Zayn was leaving One Direction. I didn’t give it two cares in the…
A typical coming-of-age tale starts with a confused kid. Coming to understand what they didn’t before is what evolves the character, but “Theeb,” a bildungsroman from Jordan, isn’t a typical coming-of-age story. The titular character, Theeb (Jacir Eid Al-Hwietat), is self-assured, rarely questioning himself. He focuses only on what he understands. It’s a refreshing character…
Free fun is often hard to find, but UAA Student Activities is here to provide the Anchorage community with live music, games and a good time at their second annual music festival GooseFest. GooseFest will hit the Cuddy Quad July 23 from 1-7 p.m. The lineup of bands consists of Saturday Cinders, Hope Social Club,…
The two weeks of exclusive rights that Chance the Rapper signed over to Apple Music for his third album/mixtape are up and it is finally available to the public for free. If you are one of his millions of fans who couldn’t wait those two weeks, you either purchased Apple Music or pirated it. I’m…
Summers first First Friday is on June 3. Get out and enjoy the sunshine in downtown Anchorage as you walk through the streets exploring what art in Anchorage has to offer.
The cornerstone of all First Friday happenings in downtown Anchorage starts at the Anchorage museum.
The museum is presenting local author Brendan Jones, where he will present his new novel, “The Alaskan Laundry.” The novel is set in Southeast Alaska, where Jones once lived on a tugboat. The event is running at 7 p.m. and is free of charge.
In addition, the museum is presenting a gallery talk on an international contemporary art exhibit known as the View From Up Here: The Arctic at the Center of the World. The exhibit is the arctic seen through the eyes of artists. The event is also at 7 p.m. and is free of charge.
Saunter down to the Sunshine Plaza to Anchorage’s newest gallery, Heart of the City. Every First Friday from 6 – 8 p.m., local art, music and light refreshments are offered as well as a small bar on site.
First Friday is more than just galleries. First Friday gives Anchorage locals the opportunity to explore all kinds of art from music, dance, crafts and more.
“I love that first Friday is a designated evening for boutiques, galleries and other venues to entertain the public. There’s a strong sense of local pride and community and it’s just an all around good time. I also love the added perk of being able to walk so easily from once place to another.” Annie Obrochta, sociology student at UAA, said.
Brown Bag Sandwich company is showcasing artist Britt McLeod and her line of jewelry known as Errangs and Thangs.
“I’ll be set up, working on new pieces throughout the evening. People should come out to First Friday to see all the wonderful local artists. I’m still learning, and it’s awesome to see all the different styles of art,” McLeod said.
Getting downtown on First Friday is an excellent way to see art by local Anchorage residents.
“It gives Anchorage character and encourages people to appreciate art and culture,” Savannah Wilmarth, a UAA a physical education and fitness leadership student, said.
Explore and discover First Friday in downtown Anchorage to find your next favorite local artist.
Since the emergence of Mumford and Sons, folk pop music has peaked as a faux and unauthentic folk music that a mainstream audience can enjoy. At its apex, the Lumineer’s struck gold with their 2012 single “Ho Hey.” The simplicity of the song became largely appealing and seemed like it was featured in nearly every craft beer commercial imaginable.
Four years later, the Lumineers are attempting to catch lightening in a bottle twice with their follow-up sophomore effort, “Cleopatra.” The eleven-track album is a brief 35-minute exploration of a post-“Ho Hey” world. Now an established band, “Cleopatra” pieces the accession to popularity the Lumineers have experienced since the release of their debut album.
The lead single “Ophelia” features minimal instrumentation with a rigorous pounding drum similar to a marching band and a set of warm and almost parlor like piano chords. Frontman Wesley Schultz examines his relationship with fame and dealing with success. Schultz expanded on this in an interview Entertainment Weekly, “’Ophelia’ is a vague reference to people falling in love with fame. That spotlight can seem like an endless buffet, but in reality, you’re just shiny, bright, and new to people for a quick moment—and then you have the rest of your life to live.”
The opening track “Sleep on the Floor,” is an eerie apocalyptic inspired track about leaving a place before its too late. Other tracks like “Gun Song” and “Gale Song” are both recycled tunes that were already featured in previous releases, like the Hunger Game’s soundtrack. The album’s closing track “Patience” is a beautiful piano instrumental that actually ties the album together quite nicely.
The Lumineers try their best to stay in the lane that led them to this point. The band spends the majority of the album trying to find this album’s “Ho Hey” but is unable to replicate anything similar. While some moments on the album are incredibly dull and cheesy, the length of the tracks makes listening to “Cleopatra” a brisk and easy listen. While the music may be catchy it is also monotonous and unfortunately sounds too similar to their debut.
Artist: The Lumineers
Release date: April 8, 2016