By BRUCE DENNILL
The Lumineers’ music is, collectively, a slow grower. Once it’s under your skin, such a notion seems completely ridiculous, but up front, it takes a little while to find your groove as a new listener.
Perhaps it’s because, as far as the roots revival goes, the Mumfords got there first, louder and with more people in their band. First impressions do count, and if you first became aware of this new wave of kick-thumping, guitar-strumming, banjo-plucking folk-pop via Little Lion Man or similar, the relatively restrained style of this band sounded like a high-class knock-off rather than a serious competitor.
Or maybe it’s because the 11 songs on offer here – if they’re played without close attention being paid – sound like they fall within a narrow sonic range. Again, the sensible statement seems to be: “That’s pretty good stuff, but really, what’s all the fuss about?”
Hopefully you have enough time in your busy schedule to fit in a second, third and fourth listening, though. Because when you do you realise, firstly, that you already know the songs quite well, and that’s because the hooks are well-written, regular and performed with palpable belief and zeal by Wesley Schultz. And secondly, you begin to understand the nuances that differentiate each track from the next.
There are consistencies; what could be called a formula. Schultz regularly kicks up an octave to lift the dynamics, supported by a band that has the chops to swerve and swoop appropriately when there’s a need to make more noise – or less – without ever over-cooking their capabilities and getting their quick-fire individual rhythm in a knotty, fuzzed-up mess.
This approach, plus a production style that makes it sound like the band are standing in your lounge, playing live, gives this collection and energy that doesn’t seem to fade on repeated listenings and which inspires sing-alongs, whether you’re in the crowd at a festival or playing the CD in your car.
There are bits of Dylan in here; nods to Jack White; and yes, reminders of Mumford & Sons. And through that whole fabric of references shines an honest delight (on the part of the band) in the business at hand, which translates – for their listeners – as a sort of joy. And that’s not something too many acts can claim.
- Flowers In Your Hair 7.75
- Classy Girls 7.75
- Submarines 8.00
- Dead Sea 8.50
- Ho Hey 7.75
- Slow It Down 8.25
- Stubborn Love 8.00
- Big Parade 7.75
- Charlie Boy 7.25
- Flapper Girl 7.00
- Morning Song 6.75
- Ain’t Nobody’s Problem 7.00
- This Must Be The Place (Naïve Melody) 7.25
- Elouise 6.50
- Darlene 6.00
- Slow It Down (Live) 7.50