Lumineers Release New Story-Driven Album, “III”

Photo courtesy of WikiMedia.

Photo courtesy of WikiMedia.

Elisabeth Sauerman, Co-Editor in Chief

This month, The Lumineers released their new album, III (pronounced “three”, and coincidentally their third album). The alternative folk band’s newest album follows a cohesive story about multiple generations of the fictional Sparks family living in Ridgewood, New Jersey.

While some may remember The Lumineers as the “Ho Hey” band, their presentation has certainly changed since the release of their 2012 self-titled album. Even with releasing the album Cleopatra in 2016, which dealt with darker and sadder themes, III takes things a step farther. III directly confronts the effects of addiction and substance abuse, including the strain put on familial bonds. Other themes tackled include cheating, child abuse, and neglect.

When listening to III the album sounds like it does not connect at all, but the music videos they have put out changes that completely. The ten songs are split into three chapters, named after three of the main characters: Gloria Sparks, Junior Sparks, and Jimmy Sparks. The cohesive storyline calls back to Cleopatra, where six of the album’s songs connected to form The Ballad of Cleopatra. For III, all ten music videos were directed by Kevin Phillips (best known for directing Forgetting Sarah Marshall), and the creativity in portraying the relationships between characters and the use of lighting and shot composition are clear. The videos are pleasing and easy to follow, all the while leaving mysteries and gaps for eager fans to debate about in the comments.

On any of the music videos, no-one has to scroll too far down to find people debating various topics, such as how characters relate to each other, what the lyrics actually mean when applied to the video, and even basic things such as which character has what name. The Lumineers, in their careful crafting of III, have left viewers and listeners satisfied with the audiovisual journey provided.

As for the music itself, the album feels more like The Lumineers than ever before. While some groupings of the new songs evoke similar feelings, each song is uniquely different and sounds like the perfect combination of what makes a great Lumineers song. A few of the songs, as found in the Genius Lyrics section of Spotify, are actually the demo versions that remained untouched through the finishing touches of the albums. The skill and craft are apparent in these songs (an example is the song “Left for Denver”), as they sound like finished products.

III retains a holistic sound, such as when the sounds of the recording room are still present in the recording, or at the beginning of the song “Leader of the Landslide”, where the crickets and rain were recorded with two phones outside of the recording studio.

III remains a testament to the skill and care of The Lumineers, as well as an example of the band’s natural evolution as artists. III currently sits at number 18 on the iTunes Top 100 2019 albums, and a single from the album, “Donna”, sits at 6.5 million views on Spotify.

III is available for streaming on Spotify, iTunes, Google Play Music, Deezer, Bandcamp, and Amazon Music.