To call the Lumineers a one-hit wonder, courtesy of their 2012 song “Ho Hey,” seems a little unfair for the simple fact that the band is still releasing music. But to its credit, Cleopatra, the follow-up to their self-titled debut, deliberately shies away from rehashing formulaic radio bait. As a result, it will likely produce no chart-topping singles, but it does give a much more holistic impression of a band that has heretofore been relegated to rollicking pop-folk foot-stompers who came along in the wake of Mumford & Sons. Cleopatra is not without its rockier moments, but the highlights of the album are guitarist Wesley Schultz and drummer/pianist Jeremiah Fraites’ songwriting and Schultz’s attention-grabbing vocals.

In their louder moments, the Lumineers are a bevy of vocals and percussion, but the bulk of this sophomore album shows a quieter, more contemplative side. Many songs begin with a solo Schultz and his guitar. Percussion comes into it in the latter half of the tracks or not at all, as is the case on “Sick in the Head” and “Patience.” Those two tracks are part of the trio of somber, pared down songs that close the album, and Cleopatra is fairly evenly divided between a heavier first half and a downtempo ending. That means singles “Ophelia” and “Angela” are stacked at the top of the album, but the slow ebb of folk bombast over the course of the album allows for a satisfying come-down.

Part of the crowd-pleasing appeal of “Ho Hey” was the imminently shoutable lyrics and the hand-clapping percussion. Album opener “Sleep on the Floor” picks up with a resonant bass drum and tambourine as the only accompaniment to Schultz’s vocal and electric guitar before backing vocals and forceful piano chords join in for a raucous finale. “Ophelia” being the most up-front example of hand-clapping on this album, it only makes sense that it’s the lead single. But that jaunty song makes good use of Fraites’ playful piano and is a solidly fun earworm. “Cleopatra” and “Gun Song” round out the first four tracks with positively jangly mixes of strumming guitars, tinkly piano and folk percussion.

While the pop-folk aesthetic gives off a fun-loving vibe, Schultz and Fraites spend a lot of time on this album contemplating darker themes. There is a string of regretful, remorseful characters in the trio of “Ophelia,” “Cleopatra” and “Angela.” Even in telling their stories, some of that embitterment reflects the band’s reaction to the notion of short-lived fame. On “Angela,” Schultz warns, “The strangers in this town/ They raise you up just to cut you down.” “Sick in the Head” is more on-the-nose: “People say I’m no good/ Write me off, oh yes they should/ Fuck ’em.

Rather than bombard listeners with raucous folk at every turn, Cleopatra favors the slow build. Songs like “Gale Song” and “Long Way From Home” rely on the gravelly strength of Schultz’s voice and some hammered guitar chords and finger-picking. On the former, light piano keys add a mood brightener, and Neyla Pekarek’s cello on the latter creates moody atmospherics behind what is otherwise a bluesy acoustic track. There’s plenty here to speak to their songwriting talents, but what Cleopatra proves more than anything else is the Lumineers’ integrity. And how can you dislike a band that puts Theda Bara on their album art?

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