If I had to choose the breakthrough band of 2012 it would be The Lumineers. With their self titled album, the Colorado based trio have created an understated and subtle debut that’s difficult to fault. It’s pure folk-Americana goodness, with heartfelt lyrics that feed the romantic soul and linger on the tongue long after the songs have ended. It’s easy listening at its best; the type of music that holds a sense of light and enchantment. There’s a quirky sound that takes you from wherever you are, instantly and effortlessly transporting you to another time and place.
The album is likeable from the moment it begins, with the short and sweet opening track Flowers In Your Hair kicking off the rustic charm that shines throughout. It has an optimistic country feel as it speaks of romanticism and growing up, instilling a sense of nostalgia for careless youth.
There’s a pleasant balance between the upbeat hopeful songs and the more mellow tracks on the album. Particular favourites are featured early on with the foot-tapping Classy Girls, which will have the world dancing in unison when it gets going, and Submarines, with its bouncy piano, foot soldier drumming and light-hearted military cheering. This young at heart folksy merriment is where the band excels and is what many listeners enjoy about this style of music.
With young at heart songs in mind it would be impossible not to mention the breakthrough hit Hey Ho, which has caused quite a buzz both stateside and in the UK. The jolly vocals and happy clapping backing are responsible for gaining The Lumineers their current considerable following. It’s possibly one of the most popular songs of 2012, with fans spanning all demographics.
The slower, stripped down songs such as Flapper Girl and the aptly titled Slow It Down bring the album down to a beautiful and delicate pace, showcasing the group’s emphasis on simplicity. These songs in particular highlight the back-to-basics feeling, the genuine sense of real musicians and real music.
Some of the softer songs can fall a little flat at times, but they manage to maintain the magnetism that keeps you listening and they waste no time in picking back up again.
Whilst The Lumineers may occasionally sound like a more chilled out and less intense American version of Mumford and Sons, they’re not a band floating around trying to emulate other artists. The album is exactly what it’s supposed to be; something that doesn’t try too hard or get lost in over-complicated lyrics and instrumentals.
This is a fantastic debut album, one of the best released this year and it’s sure to gain the band many more fans around the world. The Lumineers are going from strength to strength and if they simply keep doing what they’re doing they’ll have a very promising future ahead of them.