DANI VAN DER HORST
American folk-rock band, The Lumineers, released their third studio album titled III on 13 September 2019 which is a deeply personal tale of substance abuse. Along with the accompanying music videos, the album tells the tale of a dysfunctional working-class family and how addiction has haunted each member in a tragically unique way.
Wesley Shultz, guitarist and lead vocalist, wrote the story of the fictional Sparks family. The short film, directed by Kevin Phillips, is comprised of the music videos for each song and had its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in early September. Although fictional, Shultz drew inspiration from a member of his own family who battled substance abuse for her entire life. Drummer, Jeremiah Fraites also contributed to many of the lyrics and drew from his own battles with substance abuse, as well as from the loss of his own brother to a drug overdose in 2001.
The album tackles some exceptionally heavy topics and creates an emotionally charged cinematic and auditory experience. The decision to release the singles in chapters was a particularly fascinating one. Each generation of the Sparks family was granted three songs for their chapter. The build-up of anticipation certainly played into the band’s favour and the album debuted at number two on the Billboard Hot 200.
This entire album is brilliant. It is raw, emotional and most importantly, it is exceptionally unique. The Lumineers have a knack for storytelling and moving you in ways never before imagined. From beguiling piano riffs in Donna, to the all too familiar, bittersweet lyrics of It Wasn’t Easy To Be Happy For You, as well as a melancholic cover of the Leonard Cohen ballad Democracy, this album taps into the entire spectrum of human emotion. It is definitely worth listening to and the accompanying short film is a cinematic masterpiece that you do not want to miss.