By Tyler Genevay
For those unfamiliar with The Lumineers’ trademark sound, their third studio effort, III, will provide a graceful introduction, captivating audiences with a searing brilliance that pangs your being like a blushing gust on a frosted January morning. Yet, fans of the band’s eponymous debut album and their acclaimed sophomore effort, Cleopatra, will recognize a dynamic shift in the lyricism and storytelling of III. The subject of all 10 songs is the Sparks family, each generation damned to struggle with the sorrow wrought by alcoholism and the abiding certainty that lineage is far from the only trait passed from mother to son.
Produced with a cinematic scope, III reckons with a history of mournful promise, eulogizing the Sparks family’s collapse into vices of body and mind through resonant anthems that bleed with a knowledge and a confidence so deeply associated with The Lumineers’ rhythmic, bounding style. Grappling with such tectonic traumas does nothing to sully the album’s toe-tapping, heart-pounding exuberance, a goodness that makes a musician of us all. It is a resplendent effort, igniting a burning desire to know and to hear and to be more—and to grieve for the Sparks with the band.
Eerily grounded in our current climate, III will challenge you to confront a world of addiction that thrives in the moonlit alleys of this nation’s vast cities as fruitfully as it does under the shadow of your cul-de-sac’s wide oak or in the fading neon of motels on the outskirts of nowhere. The melodic ritual of The Lumineers reverberates uninterrupted—steady, illustrious, and broad—to guide you back to a campus you never left and yet, aren’t you riveted by the distance you’ve traveled through those headphones?
Rating: 5 Q-Tips
Favorite song: “Life in the City”