The Lumineers
The Lumineers



by PorkchopExpress USER (38 Reviews)
April 6th, 2012 | 18 replies

Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Are you the kind of person who likes saying things like "I was listening to these guys before they got big"? If so, stop reading and just go get this album right now.

In the past few years, folk-influenced roots-rock has seen a large increase in popularity. Many people (myself included) watched this revival happen with an untrusting eye. Sure, the music is pleasant enough, but I couldn't help but think that it felt too manufactured, too...artificial. It's absurd on my part, I realize, because a lot of bands I listen to (and I would even argue most bands in general) have a very calculated look and style. Knowing that hasn't done much to change my mind, but at least I realize it.

Enter Denver's The Lumineers, a band poised for big things. Sure, they share the same DNA as their contemporaries in the genre: Americana-tinged folk, complete with the requisite banjos, hand-claps, and mandolins. However, there was something about this band that grabbed me in a way that none of the other bands to ride this trend had managed to do. After giving the album a few listens, I realized that "something" turned out to be a few things.

First and foremost, this album lacks the sheen of an album like "Sigh No More". Take first single--and song that gained them some attention in the first place--"Ho Hey". It's the type of song that has potential to be a huge single, yet there's no polish to the instruments, and the backing vocals sound ethereal, like they're coming from a totally different place. Or, if you'd rather, it sounds like a handful of people took some equipment into a barn and cranked out a song, and the backing vocalists are literally standing outside. There's a natural, inescapable energy to the song that carries it along through its two and a half minute run-time. Being that it was the first thing anyone knew about them, and it's such a fantastic song, they left themselves with quite the hard act to follow. Luckily, they manage to come very close throughout most of the album, even surpassing that song with one other.

The other thing that managed to push them past the rest of the pack for me is the fact that they manage to blend other genres into their sound as well. "Dead Sea", for example, sounds like what I imagine a song would sound like if David Gray were fronting Whiskeytown. It helps that Wesley Shultz's pretty yet somewhat raspy vocals call his to mind on occasion. Album opener "Flowers In Your Hair" falls more toward alt-country than roots-rock, followed by two rollicking songs in "Classy Girl" and "Submarines".

The two aforementioned tracks (Dead Sea, Ho Hey) follow, and then the aptly titled "Slow It Down" takes its place as the album centerpiece. It's also the moment that it becomes apparent that there is a lot more to this band than would appear on the surface. A beautiful, sparse ballad, it breaks what could have been the monotony of the album, while cleansing the palate for the second half. This is very smart sequencing, especially since it's followed by the strongest track on the album, "Stubborn Love". Yearning yet still optimistic, it's a stunner of a song, with lots of potential to be something huge. The album finishes out with four more strong tracks, including the baroque "Flapper Girl" and big ballad closer "Morning Song", which may have been a momentum killer elsewhere, but works perfectly as an album closer.

Some people are going to see this review and know right away that this is something they're interested in, while others may think this is something they wouldn't even bother with. If you fall into the latter category, I at least suggest you give it a shot. You may find yourself as surprised as I was. While I'm still not sold on the roots-rock revival, I've found something from it that has piqued my interest. Perhaps this will lead me to eventually go back and check some of it out with a more open mind. And if I still don't feel any different, I will still have this album to enjoy.

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user ratings (223)

Comments:Add a Comment 
April 6th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

So here's "Ho Hey", if you haven't heard it:

And here's "Stubborn Love":

April 7th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, I have no idea what that was, or whether I should be freaked out that this was his first (and so far only) comment. I had no idea what to put for a summary, so I'm glad that works.

April 12th 2012


I'm that kind of guy

July 31st 2012


Album Rating: 3.5

review sucks, album is actually really great.

October 28th 2012


This is a really sweet album.

Staff Reviewer
December 1st 2012


Album Rating: 3.5

great album

Digging: Violents and Monica Martin - Awake and Pretty Much Sober

February 1st 2013


...good call in the summary.

February 5th 2013


very... enjoyable

February 10th 2013


Why are these guys bigger than any other folk artist...? I don't see what sets them apart...

February 11th 2013


Album Rating: 3.0

I would give a great deal to be able to write that well, nice job.

You captured a lot of my feelings about the current music happenings, and I agree with your comments about this band. Have a hearty pos

Digging: Wesley Willis - Greatest Hits Vol. 2

February 15th 2013


Album Rating: 1.5

this sucks

Digging: Ildjarn - Strength and Anger

February 18th 2013


I don't mind the folk/bluegrass revival except that it has become trendy while not managing to make new audiences go back and listen to the originators Earl Scruggs, Joan Baez, Hazel Dickens, Pete Seeger, Ricky Skaggs etc. And so I always find myself wondering what bands do they look up to or listen to in the chosen genre, who influenced them and what do they know of the legacy and history of this music.

Because without that knowledge for me, no matter how good the music may be, it will resonate as inauthentic, not lyrically maybe, but musically as if they took the shopping list of folk and bluegrass and went to the store. I think, "Ho Hey" is catchy as hell though, just need to know more about the band's history before I buy into this whole revival of dressing like owners of a general store who sing "old timey" music on the side.

June 16th 2013


ho hey is just the worst thing

June 16th 2013


Lame band

June 21st 2013


Album Rating: 2.0

For some reason decided to randomly jam this on Spotify, sucks hard

June 21st 2013


Band has the worst name, screams pretentious mid 30's hipster bullshit. I wouldn't doubt that's what this sounds like.

June 21st 2013


Album Rating: 1.5

Far more enjoyable than Mumford and sons.

Not saying much though.

March 29th 2015


slow it down and dead sea are like the only good tracks on this thing

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