The Lumineers: Self-titled

The Lumineers are an alternative folk rock band, hailing from Denver, Colorado, who blasted onto the music scene with the release of their self-titled album "The Lumineers" on April 3rd, 2012. The album debuted at number 17 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, and they have been skyrocketing to success with sold out tours and tons of fans ever since.

The band consists of three members, Wesley Schultz who is the lead vocals and guitar, Jerimiah Fraites who mans the drums, percussion, mandolin and back-up vocals and Neyla Pekarek, who can be heard on cello, mandolin, piano and back-up vocals. Schultz and Fraites were the founders of the band, beginning to write music to cope with the tragic death of Fraites's brother from an overdose in the year 2002. They were low on income and the music scene in their home state of New York was tough, so they packed up and moved to Colorado to try and fit into the music scene there. This is where they met Pekarek, through an ad on Craigslist asking for a cellist. The trio began to play at open mics and soon, with the mix of Pekarek's classic softness and Schultz's and Fraites' hard edges, The Lumineers were born.

The opening song is "Flowers in Your Hair", which is light-hearted and catchy, but also short; the perfect way to get the audience interested in their sound. Schultz sings in a way that is reminiscent of Ryan Adams and sets up the album perfectly.

Next is "Classy Girl", which shows the amazing narrative lyrics that The Lumineers include in their song. The song is like reading a book, in which you can picture exactly what is happening as you're listening. The mandolin paired with mindless chatter in the background makes the song feel like the setting is actually a bar, in which the band is just sitting and playing.

"Submarines" is a piano heavy track, accompanied by percussion in the background, which contrasts largely against the war-like lyrics. The lyrics speak of a man who sees Japanese submarines and no one believes him. Like their other songs though, this song has such an upbeat feel that even the heavy lyrics can lighten your mood.

“Dead Sea” is one of the ballads on the album. Schultz sings of lost love, including lyrics such as “you told me I was like the dead sea, the nicest words you’ve ever said to me”. This song has a very Mumford and Sons feel to it, with the percussion instruments in the background and the slow pace.

“Ho Hey” was the single from the album, and evidentially the most popular track on the album. It still keeps the ballad feel that came with “Dead Sea”, but brings the mood right back up to the light and airy feel the rest of the album has. With catchy lyrics like: “I belong with you, you belong with me, you’re my sweetheart”, this song is very relatable and definitely my favourite on the album.

“Slow it Down” does just that, slows right down. With just an acoustic guitar accompanying Schultz’s vocals, it has a very intimate feel to it, almost something you would hear in a coffee shop at night. Unlike the rest of the album, this ballad brings a somber feel along with it, bringing down the mood of the album to light to heavyhearted.

“Stubborn Love” starts to speed things back up, with the acoustic guitar and harmonica introduction; it brings a smile right to my face. Though it tells of a somewhat broken love, it’s still a hand clapping, feet stomping track that brings a message of “keeping your head up”

The next track is also another favourite of mine called “Big Parade”. It’s such a catchy song that showcase Schultz’s vocals with the almost a capella-like sound throughout the beginning of the track. It tells of United States candidates traveling through the city, but can still lift your mood by just listening to it.

“Charlie Boy” is the most folk song sounding on the album, with the lyrics “Charlie boy, don’t go to war, born first in fourty-four” and a guitar that sounds like the rolling wind, it makes you feel as if you’re watching a loved one go off to war, sometime back in 1944.

We travel to the 1920s in “Flapper Girl”, the track has a jazz feel and a lyrical narrative that describes a boy trying to get an attention of the flapper girl, who doesn’t feel to care that he exists. The Lumineers manage to work in a jazz feeling to an obviously folk song, and tells a story to boot.

The last track on the album is “Morning Song”, which hits with percussion right off the bat, and then slows down to do what The Lumineers seem to do best, make amazing music while telling a story. The song is almost a ballad, but still light enough to make the lyrics of betrayal seem less heavy.

This album really is my definition of amazing. With its lighthearted background music and thoughtful lyrics, I’d definitely recommend it to anyone looking for fold music that still has a modern edge.

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