Four years after breaking out with the chart-topping campfire jam “Ho Hey,” The Lumineers return with an equally folksy 11-track set the band has described as “heavier” than their debut collection. Indeed: their latest is filled with chain-gang choruses, songs about guns and badass female taxi drivers, and shoutouts to mythic icon Cleopatra. But the three-piece group are still serving up the same piano jaunts you’d likely play on sticky summer nights and long drives through the mountains.
And that’s what the Lumineers and their bespoke aesthetic aim to do, right? Hit you over the head with piano claps, bells and whistles, and obvious feelings that crush themselves into tight little earworms. Some songs are full-blown snoozers with monotonous keyboard melodies and zero peaks (“In the Light”), yet others build into expansive bangers, using the piano to incite frantic trills and soaring choruses, like on the album’s first single “Ophelia,” and even the wispy “Gale Song.” Cheesy at times? Maybe. Still, the Lumineers fill the mainstream roots-rock void left vacant since Mumford & Sons went electric.