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