|Cleopatra (Deluxe) (April 8, 2016)|
The Lumineers — Cleopatra (Deluxe) (April 8, 2016)♦★♦ Editors’ Notes: A collection of intimate stories about love, loneliness, and redemption, The Lumineer’s second full–length album has all the heart–on–sleeve hallmarks of their breakthrough debut. But here, the character–driven vignettes — about the lonely new girl in town, Ophelia, and the Egyptian queen of the title — feature thoughtful, luxurious production. The combination is powerful; with churning guitars and sweeping emotion, these are beautiful stories to tell.
♦★♦ Influencers: Iron & Wine, Bruce Springsteen, Talking Heads, Band of Horses, The Black Keys, Kings of Leon, Kings of Convenience, The Avett Brothers
♦★♦ “We want to focus on the core, not the illusion.” — Wesley Schultz, The Lumineers.
Location: Denver, Colorado
Album release: April 8, 2016
Record Label: Dualtone Music
Genre: Indie Folk, Folk Rock
Styles: Americana, Country–Folk, Alt–Country, Alternative/Indie Rock
01. Sleep on the Floor 3:31
02. Ophelia 2:40
03. Cleopatra 3:21
04. Gun Song 3:36
05. Angela 3:21
06. In the Light 3:51
07. Gale Song 3:13
08. Long Way from Home 2:32
09. Sick in the Head 2:31
10. My Eyes 3:36
11. Patience 1:35
12. Where The Skies Are Blue 2:20
13. Everyone Requires A Plan 2:41
14. White Lie 3:15
℗ 2016 Dualtone Music Group
≈ Jeremiah Fraites / Wesley Schultz 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11
≈ Simone Felice / Jeremiah Fraites / Wesley Schultz 3, 5
≈ Jeremiah Fraites / Neyla Pekarek / Wesley Schultz 7, 10Personnel:
♦★♦ Emily Campbell,
♦★♦ Maria Belen Penone
♦★♦ Jennifer Navejas
★♦★ David Baron Keyboards
★♦★ Chad Cuttill Mixing Assistant
★♦★ Simone Felice Composer, Percussion, Producer
★♦★ Jeremiah Fraites Composer, Drums, Group Member, Piano
★♦★ Ryan Hewitt Engineer, Mixing
★♦★ Byron Isaacs Bass, Vocals
★♦★ Lauren Jacobson Strings
★♦★ Bob Ludwig Mastering
★♦★ Rick Mullen Guitar Technician
★♦★ Neyla Pekarek Cello, Composer, Group Member, Vocals
★♦★ Wesley Schultz Composer, Group Member, Guitar, Vocals
♦★♦ Cleopatra is full of deeply felt songs that will get under the listeners skin. Opening track “Sleep On The Floor” is a tale of escape from the humdrum, delivered with the confident swagger of a young Bruce Springsteen busting out of Atlantic City. “Gun Song” is rumination on parenthood, based around a memory of Wesley discovering a pistol in a drawer after his father died. “Angela”, already one of the most popular tracks on the album, is a tender guitar picked homily to a small town beauty struggling to escape her past. Every song is finely detailed, beautifully performed, sure of its own inner purpose.
♦★♦ “I felt like we had won some good will,” says Wesley. “So we could take our time, savour the moment, because if you trust us and stay with it, you know there will be something there for you. This is going to sound crazy, but, if making an album is like robbing a house, the first album felt like the homeowners were taking the dog for a walk, and we only had 10 minutes to get in and get out. It was manic. It was rushed. But on the 2nd album, Jer and I felt like the owners were taking a 2 week vacation. We could get in there, take our time, and find exactly what we were looking for.” © Wesley Schultz and the Lumineers in Los Angeles last month. Credit: Kevin Winter, Getty Images
♦★♦ It took four years for The Lumineers to follow up their platinum–plus, multi–Grammy–nominated, self–titled debut — which spent 46 weeks on the Billboard 200 and peaked at #2 — but Cleopatra is well worth the wait. After exploding onto the scene with their monster single, “Ho Hey” (which spent a staggering 62 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #3) and its follow–up, “Stubborn Love” (recently featured on President Barack Obama’s Spotify playlist), The Lumineers spent a solid three years touring six of the seven continents. During that time, The Lumineers — whose original members Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites founded the band in Ramsey, New Jersey back in 2002 — earned a pair of Grammy nominations (Best New Artist, Best Americana Album), contributed two songs to The Hunger Games franchise (including the hit Jennifer Lawrence/James Newton Howard collaboration, “The Hanging Tree”) and sold an impressive 1.7 million albums in the U.S., and 3 million worldwide. Cleopatra proves Schultz and Fraites — along with cellist/vocalist Neyla Pekarek — are neither taking their good fortune for granted, nor sitting back on their laurels. With the help of producer Simone Felice (The Felice Brothers, The Avett Brothers), the man Wesley calls “our shaman,” the band ensconced themselves in Clubhouse, a recording studio high atop a hill in rural Rhinebeck, N.Y., not far from Woodstock. The Lumineers then set about trying to make musical sense of their three–year–plus roller coaster ride. Their skill at setting a visual story to music comes through amidst the delicate, deceptively simple acoustic soundscapes. This time, though, bassist Byron Isaac provides a firm, low–end on the apocalyptic opener “Sleep on the Floor,” a ghostly tune about getting out of town before the “subways flood [and] the bridges break.” It’s a densely packed, cinematic song that echoes Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City” and John Steinbeck’s East of Eden — which were models for the record alongside Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Cleopatra also deals with what Wesley terms “the elephant in the room,” the band’s success and the way it can sometimes put a target on your back. The syncopated piano rolls in “Ophelia” (“I got a little paycheck/You got big plans/You gotta move/I don’t feel nothin’ at all”), the organic sound of fingers squeaking on guitar strings in “Angela” (“The strangers in this town/They raise you up just to cut you down”) and the Faustian bargain described in “My Eyes” (“Oh, the devil’s inside/You open the door/You gave him a ride/Too young to know/Too old to admit/But you couldn’t see how it ends”) consider the perils of getting what you wish for, with everyone knowing your name, and your songs. The band had total artistic freedom in writing and recording the album, so Wesley and Jer pushed the envelope on experimental tracks like the stream–of–consciousness, purposely lo–fi “Sick in the Head,” the yearning, piano chord build–up of “In the Light,” or the closing orchestral instrumental, the aptly titled coda, “Patience.” “We continue to make the kind of records we want to,” says Wesley. “We believe in this music. It’s a true labor of love. We just want to keep reaching more people with our songs.” Given the evidence on The Lumineers’ eagerly anticipated sophomore album Cleopatra, that shouldn’t be a problem.
|Cleopatra (Deluxe) (April 8, 2016)|
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