The magic of The Lumineers’s self-titled full-length debut is not that it is foot-stomping, smile-inducing, heart-swelling music. It is all of those things, but the magic of it is that they manage to accomplish this with such earnest simplicity. This folk trio, comprised of Wesley Schultz, Jeremiah Fraites and Neyla Pekarek quite simply makes good music.
These songs are catchy in a folk-pop sort of way, but there is a melancholy lurking beneath the surface, which is understandable given the band’s background. Wesley and Jeremiah began making music together in New York in 2002 after the death of Jeremiah’s brother. They later moved west to Colorado, where they picked up Neyla along with her cello/mandolin/piano skills. The rougher western influence is evident in their music (and their outfits); this debut is not quite polished, but it is unpolished in the best way possible.
The Lumineers includes some of the top songs off of their earlier (and equally impressive) EP, such as the short and sweet “Flowers In Your Hair” and the romantic bar tune, “Classy Girls.” They have also expanded their sound. For instance, “Flapper Girl” incorporates a jaunty piano and “Ho Hey” brings in handclaps, group vocals and happiness. Standout “Dead Sea” builds up for powerful effect, while also telling the story of their move out west: “I headed west, I was a man on the move/New York it lied to me, I needed the truth/Oh I need somebody, I needed someone I could trust/And I don’t gamble, but if I did I would bet on us.” This song, like all the others, draws you in and does not let go.
-Tess O’Connor, host of Tunes with Tess, Tuesdays 2-3pm on WGTB