The Lumineers’s “Cleopatra” Reminds Us to Take our Time


“Cleopatra” was released April 8 via Dualtone Records

The Lumineers’s “Cleopatra” Reminds Us to Take our Time

by Jess Swarner


The Lumineers are a band that can do pretty much the same thing on their sophomore album as they did their debut and totally get away with it. In fact, I’m thankful they did just that.

The folksy Denver trio released Cleopatra on Friday, following single “Ophelia,” which, while not quite breaking out like “Ho Hey,” received strong airplay on alternative radio stations.

The best part about The Lumineers’ first album is its ability to place you in a different time and a different world. In their world, time moves slow, attention to detail is standard, and nostalgia is thick in the air. Luckily the band realized how special the world they created is, and they dove right back into it for Cleopatra.

Vocalist Wesley Schultz coasts through each song, whether it’s about the girl he so purely loves, or the sorrows that trail him, with the nonchalance of someone who’s seen too much to get worked up in the span of a song.

My best friends and I spent the night of the Supermoon a few summers ago splayed out on the bleachers at a local park, fumbling to eat an entire pound of fresh-picked D.C. cherries in the dark. It was the middle of summer and the night air was hot, and the small tug of fear that the park police would find us there after dusk slowly came to rest in the back of our minds. But what tied this whole experience together was The Lumineers’ first album, the songs like “Slow it Down” and “Dead Sea” that seemed to shut us up because they said everything we wanted to say in that moment – that we were happy where we were, and we had no desire to move on.

Stepping into Cleopatra’s songs like “Sick in the Head” and “My Eyes” are just like getting stuck in that time warp again, with sprawling piano endings, resonating guitars, and point-by-point descriptions of a picture that never fully converges. “You better slow down baby, soon,” ends “My Eyes” – the trio has slowing time on its mind yet again.

In “Cleopatra,” Schultz explains “I was late for this, late for that, late for the love of my life / When I die alone, when I die alone, when I die I’ll be on time.” This album throws any sort of urgency out the window and accepts all of the consequences – maybe taking your time is more valuable than getting what you want.

Even with the single, nothing stands out in this album. Sometimes that’s a sign that songs sound too much the same, but for this album, it means that they all work better in one go, in one story-time, in one meditation – it means you should take your time.

Even though my best friends and I couldn’t make that summer night stand still, and even though we feel the impending doom of graduation and moving away for good upon us, I’m confident that we’ll end up on those bleachers once again – fumbling with our cherries in the dark, humming along to Cleopatra with our eyes toward the moon.