The Roaring Music Review
Songwriters, Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites did something most musicians don’t. They left the Big Apple and as Schultz eloquently sang in The Lumineers’ song “Dead Sea,” “I headed West, I was a man on the move.” “New York had lied to me, I needed the truth.”
The truth was found in Denver and after mining for another bandmate via a craigslist ad, Schultz and Fraites struck gold with the addition of cellist and pianist Neyla Pekarek and following the release of their self-titled, debut album the trio known as The Lumineers went triple platinum.
The first time I had the privilege of seeing the Denver based band live was during the summer of 2013 at a hot, muddy farm in Manchester, Tennessee more commonly known as Bonnaroo. Standing in the midst of thousands of sweaty, flower-laden, Lumineers’ lovers, the trio woke up Coffee County, Tennessee that night. We weren’t just fans, we were family and I was in love.
An aspiring musician, myself, I treasured the Lumineers’ songs as much as Lloyd Christmas adored Mary Swanson in Dumb and Dumber. And, like Jim Carrey’s moronic yet endearing character, I too felt as though I had ‘a one in a million’ chance; ‘a one in a million’ chance of ever writing a tune as brutally honest, brilliantly simple and subsequently relatable as any song The Lumineers ever composed.
Then came April 8, 2016, which for Lumineers fans felt like Christmas morning. ‘Twas the day, Cleopatra, the band’s sophomore album blessed the world with its birth. I remember unwrapping the CD like a child ripping open a gift under an illuminated Christmas tree.
That same evening I hosted a listening party at my parent’s house, where at the age of 26 I still lived.
One friend showed up and the two of us listened to the album, uninterrupted, with the exception of my loveable, hippie mother and unsentimental father occasionally passing through to do laundry.
At the time, I served eggs at a breakfast diner for a living and recall my father pausing to listen, laundry basket in hand and after hearing a snippet of the song, “Ophelia,” looking at me and saying, “See Matt if you could just write a song like that, you wouldn’t have to ask people how they would like their eggs cooked anymore.”
My father, like The Lumineers, always told and still tells the brutal truth. While I played a lot of guitar that night, I still woke up the next morning and asked my first table of customers if they’d like their eggs scrambled or over easy.
Although my old man may not have a sentimental bone in his body, in many respects, The Lumineers’ music, for whatever reason, reminds me of him – especially the bands’ latest release C-Sides.
Consisting of three songs, which couldn’t find a home on either the band’s debut or sophomore albums. Its tunes “Scotland,” “For Fra” and “Visions of China,” like my father, don’t waste anytime.
In eight minutes and 51 seconds The Lumineers’ C-Sides will remind fans why they love the Denver band in the first place, but at the same time will leave them craving for more.
C-Sides boisterous first song “Scotland,” dreams big but remains humble. The instrumental second tune, “For Fra” listens more than it speaks. Lastly, “Visions of China,” doesn’t try to tie everything together but rather celebrates differences.
The album at times, like our lives, does feel unsatisfying. Sure fans like myself will want more. A lot more. But at the same time, The Lumineers’ C-Sides, teaches us to appreciate what we do have.