With raw vocals and passionate instrumentals, The Lumineers have struck again. The Colorado-natives tug on the heartstrings with their new single, “Left for Denver.” The song comes just weeks before the September 13th release of their third studio album, III.
Since the release of their self-titled debut album, the “Ho Hey” singers have remained consistently successful with radio hits like “Ophelia” and “Cleopatra.” Just a year before their sudden climb to fame, the band was playing small gigs under their stolen alias.
With a massive fanbase across the globe and two albums under their belt (plus one on the way), The Lumineers have gained a decent amount of notoriety. Their newest album has been highly anticipated for months after the release of “Gloria Sparks,” the first chapter of their new album which consisted of three emotional, hard-hitting singles.
“Left for Denver” continues the story of young Junior Sparks, a fictional member of the album’s family concept, who is born into a cycle of domestic and substance abuse. The album is separated into three parts (not including bonus tracks): Gloria, Junior and Jimmy—the full Sparks family.
“Left for Denver” is the third and final single of his chapter, which is filled with domestic violence and teenage angst, as well as the longing for and lack of a stable mother figure. The maternal theme is visited many times throughout his chapter, with lyrics like “All I’ve ever wanted was a mother for the first time/Finally I can see you as the leader of the landslide” sung in “Leader of the Landslide.” Junior’s longing is also depicted in his chapter’s music videos.
The song has the same steadiness of “Dead Sea” off The Lumineers and a similar message to “Donna,” a track off III in which Junior’s mother, Gloria, is depicted as a detached and distant mother without her children’s wellbeing in mind. It is consistent with the album’s overall sound so far: raw and emotional, overflowing with the pain of fear and helplessness.
The album itself is an extremely painful listen as it centers on a fictional family torn apart by addiction, neglect and abuse. Many of these topics come from the first-hand experiences and stories of the band’s members.
The overall sound is monotonous but in the best and most calming way possible. Its quiet vocals and solemn strumming give it a soothing effect to counteract the melancholy reality of the lyrics, which express grief and bitterness through personal questions directed towards abusive family members. But underneath the heavy guitar, the lyrics are drowned out.
The instrumental itself is unmistakably similar to Panic! at the Disco’s “Northern Downpour.” In fact, the strumming patterns are nearly identical, the guitar syncing at almost every second. While accusing the band of theft might be a step too far, listeners might end up reminiscing on Panic!’s Pretty. Odd. era as they give it a listen.
As The Lumineers’ fans wait patiently, they can experience Junior’s anger, as well as his grief, in “Junior Sparks.” With less than a month until the album’s release, “Left for Denver” is some of the last they’ll be hearing of the band until September 13th.
With the amount of pain already written into such a small portion of the album, the entirety of III might emotionally destroy fans, if it hasn’t already. Touching on abuse and addiction, the Sparks’ story is raw and emotional, backed by stunning vocals and instrumentals.
Stream “Left for Denver” here.
Featured image via The Lumineers