It’s been hard to avoid the Lumineers over the last six months or so. I say this only after reading about their chart success (their single “Ho Hey” peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, and hit #1 on the Billboard Alternative and Rock charts). Since I don’t watch too much television and never listen to the radio, I was one of those people able to avoid them and their debut album.
And I’m a little surprised at that, really.
The Lumineers sound a lot like two bands I’ve been listening to a lot over the last year, Fleet Foxes and the Head and the Heart. They aren’t quite as calculated in their song arrangements as Fleet Foxes, but the Lumineers do also have a penchant for echo/reverb (see “Charlie Boy”). Their songwriting is somewhat similar to the Head and the Heart; both bands have a penchant for celebrating an older, perhaps simpler time, and both bands adopt the diction of folk singers from bygone eras. If anything, the Lumineers songwriting is more straightforward, more “pop” with fewer unexpected twists.
Still, the band’s chart-topper “Ho Hey” is not the kind of infectious pop song that I expected it would be. It doesn’t sound like one of those immediately likeable one-hit wonder songs. Really, it doesn’t sound too different from anything else on their album, which might be the best indicator of future success for the band: they didn’t stumble onto some perfect formula like some bands, but rather they’re pretty consistent.
With that said, the last third or so of the band’s eleven tracks aren’t as strong as the ones before. Specifically, things go downhill after the seventh track “Stubborn Love.” But when you’ve got a #1 hit, I guess that can be overlooked.
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5