III by The Lumineers is their most ambitious and personal album yet, and we think possibly their best. It is the third album by two-time GRAMMY-nominated band, whose line up is original members and songwriters Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites plus violinist/vocalist Lauren Jacobson, pianist Stelth Ulvang, bassist/backing vocalist Byron Isaacs and multi-instrumentalist Brandon Miller.
The album is a cinematic narrative told in three chapters, with the songs from each chapter focusing on one primary character from the three generations of the fictional ‘Sparks family’. Each chapter sits within the full-length album, alongside three bonus tracks.
The stories told, as the chapters unfold, deal with subjects very close to the heart of lead vocalist, Wesley Schultz. Chapter I ‘Gloria Sparks’, was inspired by a member of Schultz’s family. “Gloria is an addict and no amount of love or resources could save her. She’s now been homeless for over a year. Loving an addict is like standing among the crashing waves, trying to bend the will of the sea.”
Subsequent chapters focus on Gloria’s grandson Junior Sparks (Chapter II), and then finally the harrowing story of her son Jimmy Sparks (Chapter III), which sees him spiral out of control through drug addiction, alcohol misuse and violence following the death of his wife.
Chapter i – Gloria Sparks
- Life In The City
Chapter ii – Junior Sparks
- It Wasn’t Easy To Be Happy For You
- Leader Of The Landslide
- Left For Denver
Chapter iii – Jimmy Sparks
- My Cell
- Jimmy Sparks
- Salt And The Sea
- Old Lady
- Soundtrack Song
Each song from The Lumineers’ new album will also be released as individual music videos that collectively tell the story, visually, of the three generations of the Sparks family. All the videos are directed by Kevin Phillips and produced by Neighbourhood Watch.
The Lumineers’ unique blend of folk and rock, paired with their thought-provoking lyrics and Schultz’s distinctive and spine-tingling voice, has earned them legions of dedicated fans across the world.
“Donna” the opening track on III leads you slowly and steadily into the album’s very detailed narrative journey.
‘Gloria’ is an upbeat and thought-provoking song, one of the standout moments on the album.
Whereas ‘Jimmy Sparks’ twists and turns lyrically as the song builds, taking the listener on a journey as Jimmy’s gambling habit spirals out of control. It’s heartbreaking lyrically, but the searing vocals on the track and the accompanying instrumentals, stay with you long after you’ve finished listening. Such craftsmanship that really sets The Lumineers apart. Schultz also wrote a variation ‘Jimmy Sparks’ called ‘Nightshade’ which features on the soundtrack for the final season of Game of Thrones.
It’s clear that the entire band, have poured themselves into creating this captivating and deeply personal body of work, that is easy to listen to, it takes the listener on a journey, telling them a story that resonates in the listener’s mind for hours after listening.
This year, the band will tour across the US and Europe, with nights at three UK arenas including a date at London’s O2 Arena. You can find out more info here.
III is released everywhere on Friday 13 September, you can buy it here.
Let us know your thoughts on the album at @CelebMix!