Dualtone Records, 2012
REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/23/2012
Whenever I hear a band is The Next Big Thing, I’m always immediately wary. I mean come on, not every band can be The Next Big Thing. For once I’d like to see a press kit read COMPLETELY UNORIGINAL or ANOTHER JOY DIVISION RIP-OFF. With that said, having heard this Denver trio were being touted as, you guessed it, The Next Big Thing, naturally my first thought was an incredulous "sure." Further investigating finds they cracked the Billboard Top 50 with this disc, hitting #43. Okay, an impressive feat for a band without major label backing, but I’m still not sold. Plenty of garbage littering the FM dial makes it on the charts.
Well, I have no problems admitting my reservations here were completely destroyed after the album opener “Flowers In Your Hair,” an intimate and gritty folk song that sounds like David Gray fronting Blind Pilot. With melodies that sound ideal for the front porch the disc as a whole has a spontaneous feel that almost feels like it was recorded around a campfire on a whim. Relying strictly on acoustic instruments and handclaps, The Lumineers can’t hide behind any studio tricks here; they simply deliver timeless and imaginative songcraft with eloquent wordplay.
Unlike many of their peers, this outfit shows a lot diversity across this debut. ‘Submarines” is a piano-driven country-rock tune, while they get playful on "Hey Ho,” leaving your legs unable to remain idle. “Classy Girls” gives you the impression the band are playing in front of an audience with the simulated chatter, adding to the overall raw feel to the disc.
The Lumineers is a band that is more than living up to the buzz surrounding them, though these sort of rustic, Americana-fueled pop melodies are becoming more visible than ever, few bands are doing it as well. Equally skilled at both sparse balladry and lush, building instrumentation, this is an absolutely beautiful collection of songs.