Deluxe editions of albums, much like Best Of’s and Greatest Hits seem to have a negative light on them. To a normal person they may just be a collection of popular singles from the band’s entire discography and a b-side or two, while other’s see it as a ploy to cash in more dosh or a lazy attempt at a release. And while it’s easy to jump ship and point fingers, I tried not to be one of ‘those’ people and happily listened to The Lumineers’ Deluxe Edition of their self-titled debut album first before judging.
The 5-piece Denver folk rockers have been gaining a lot of critical acclaim since the release of their debut album, reaching #3 on the Billboard’s Hot 100 with their easily most popular single Ho Hey and getting nominated for two Grammys for Best New Artist and Best Americana album. The Lumineers are praised for the simplicity of their music, which clearly sets them apart from other artists of the folk genre.
The Lumineers Deluxe Edition includes 5 new tracks on top of the 11 songs of their original album along with some other video and live sessions goodies. The bonus tracks consist of Ain’t Nobody’s Problem, This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody) cover, Elouise, Darlene and Slow It Down (Live).
The first bonus track is Ain’t No Body’s Problem. Unlike the glum mood that lingers in the original album, this song seems quite upbeat for a Lumineers track. Complete with a bluesy piano solo, back-up singers yelling out lyrics in the chorus and lively acoustic guitar that presents an empowering image of The Lumineers we don’t often see.
Any fan of the 80s new wave band Talking Heads are sure to see the title of their beloved single This Must Be The Place and wonder how a folk band would successfully cover the love song. With the original already being quite simple and having minimal accompaniment of an old keyboard synth with warming vocals, when listening to The Lumineers version it feels like a whole other layer has been taken off that wasn’t there before. The song is now at it’s minimalist display, merely a skeleton of a song that has a more brooding voice, a basic guitar strum and a faint violin melody that seems to be too vague at first to be noticed and is only completely heard in the final seconds of the song.
With Submarines being the band’s latest single, the only piano ballad of the original album meets its match with Elouise. While it may not be as optimistic and uplifting as Submarines, the piano magically stands out above the other elements of the piece. Each key stroke carries the song through the romantic serenade.
The soft spoken Darlene follows up and highlights Wesley Schultz vocal capabilities. His voice soars through the entire song and nestles in your mind. It’s only half way through the piece that you remember the acoustic guitar gently strumming along and the gushing drum rolls coming in. The subtle piano riff seems to bloom and grow as the lyrics ‘oh darling’ roar at you.
The final bonus track is a live version of Slow It Down. While the original heavily relies on the power of the vocals, as a live performance you can feel the other elements in the song really contribute . The guitar is now in par with Shultz’ rough, melancholy voice, and brings out a raw, callous sound. You can picture the cheering crowd singing along and this imagery really brings out the emotions of the song as an overlaying sense of gloom possibly plays on the audience’s lips.
All in all, The Lumineers Deluxe Edition combines the successful original album with a few extra trinkets of music. The bonus tracks provide a good conclusion to the overall vibe of the band’s debut release but don’t really provide any hooking new material that can be released as singles. If anyone is still riding off the hype of the Denver boys this release is a must as its bonus live performances are sure the stuff of avid fans’ dreams. Music wise, it’s just the good ol’ Lumineers. No real losses if you do or don’t get this record.
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