The Lumineers' Wesley Schultz details the group's heavy new album |


The Lumineers' Wesley Schultz details the group's heavy new album

The folk-rockers share the set's first single, "Ophelia."

With a chain-gang choir and roots-rock stomp the Lumineers introduced themselves as America’s answer to Mumford and Sons back in 2012. “Ho Hey,” their addictive, folk-rock ear worm about bumming around Chinatown, catapulted into the Top 40 while their accompanying self-titled debut earned two Grammy nods (Best New Artist and Best Americana Album) in 2013. With a successful second single, “Stubborn Love,” they were a favorite festival band and touring act by that summer.

Now, EW is excited to share the band’s first new song in four years, “Ophelia,” and announce that the group will return with their second LP, Cleopatra, on April 8.

Frontman Wesley Schultz says he and co-founder Jeremiah Fraites got back to basics when it came time to write for the 11-track collection. “We rented a little house in Denver and spent our days there for about six months,” he says of the stretch that began in January 2015. “We simulated the way we did things back home — we just ground away.” Though only a few years into their thirties, they’ve been writing and playing together for decades. (The two men grew up together in Ramsey, New Jersey. Schultz was best friends with Fraites’ older brother, Josh, who died in his late teens and two found solace in their musical relationship.)

And while the raw, jangly guitars, parlor-room piano chords, and marching band snare rolls from the first record remain intact, Cleopatra has a welcome, added heft. “It’s a heavier record,” Schultz says. “A lot of the records that I grew up on were about being transitory; never being stuck…This lifestyle can make you crazy,” he says of being a professional musician. “But it suits a personality like me. I’m always on to the next.”

“Ophelia,” streaming below, had a particularly long gestation period. “That hook has been in the making for four years,” he says. “But we didn’t have a verse.” Of the song’s meaning, Schultz explains: “Ophelia is a vague reference to people falling in love with fame. That spotlight can seem like an endless buffet, but in reality, you’re just shiny, bright, and new to people for a quick moment — and then you have the rest of you life to live.” He continues, “It’s about caring so much about the people around me, and wondering if we’re all going to be alright.”

The album gets its title from a song of the same name. On “Cleopatra” Schultz tells the story of a woman named Manana from the Republic of Georgia. “That was the bedrock of the album,” he says of the tune. The singer and his wife came to know her through a friend. “She drives taxis and is this badass lady – she’ll pick you up at the airport with a cigarette hanging out her mouth and a beer can between your legs,” he says. “We live in a country fully of Instagram and pictures of life more beautiful than you ever thought it could be and she comes from the exact opposite perspective and she doesn’t ask for pity. She has a willingness to confront life.”

Some might be surprised by a full four years between albums, and Schultz is aware of the pressure to release. “There is the, ‘What have you done for me lately?’-attitude in Top 40,” he admits. “But I’d rather just develop a trust with listeners that when we put something out, we feel its ready. Every little sound you hear on this record was intentional.”

“Ophelia” is streaming below. Cleopatra is due for release April 8 via Dualtone. 

Track Listing for Cleopatra is below:

1. Sleep On The Floor
2. Ophelia
3. Cleopatra
4. Gun Song
5. Angela
6. In The Light
7. Gale Song
8. Long Way From Home
9. Sick In The Head
10. My Eyes
11. Patience

The group will also tour in support. A list of dates is below:

14 Apr             Bristol, UK @ O2 Academy

15 Apr             Glasgow, UK @ Barrowlands

18 Apr             Dublin, Ireland @ Olympia Theatre

19 Apr             Manchester, UK @ Albert Hall

23 Apr             London, UK @ O2 Shepherds Bush Empire

27 Apr             Paris, France @ Le Trianon

28 Apr             Brussels, Belgium @ Ancienne Belgique

29 Apr             Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Melkweg

2 May              Cologne, Germany @ E-Werk

4 May              Hamburg, Germany @ Gross Freiheit 36

6 May              Berlin, Germany @ Admiralspalast

8 May              Stockholm, Sweden @ Berns

9 May              Oslo, Norway @ Rockefeller

10 May            Copenhagen, Denmark @ Vega

21 May            Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall

22 May            Dallas, TX @ The Bomb Factory

25 May            Salt Lake City, UT @ Red Butte Garden

27 May            San Diego, CA @ CalCoast Credit Union Open Air Theatre

28 May            Santa Barbara, CA @ Santa Barbara Bowl

29 May            Napa Valley @ Bottle Rock Festival

31 May            Portland, OR @ Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

1 Jun               Vancouver, BC @ Orpheum Theatre

3 Jun               Redmond, WA @ Marymoor Amphitheater

7 Jun               Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre

10 Jun             Kansas City, MO @ KC Live! @  Power & Light District

11 Jun             Indianapolis, IN @ Murat Theatre

12 Jun             St. Louis, MI @ Peabody Opera House

14 Jun             St. Paul, MN @ Myth

15 Jun             Milwaukee, WI @ Riverside Theater

19 Jun             Chicago, IL @ Chicago Theater

20 July            Gardone Riviera, Italy @ Anfiteatro Del Vittoriale

21 July            Sesto al Reghena, Italy @ Sexto ‘NPlugged