Pop music trends these days are proceeding, curiously, in two very different directions.
One road leads to the increasingly inescapable synthesized sound of the electronic dance music craze. Known as EDM, it's a sound that's been pioneered by European DJs such as Calvin Harris and David Guetta, but one that's been assimilated by established artists such as Rihanna, Usher and Bruno Mars, among many others.
The other road leads to a full-on revival of stripped-down genres such as folk rock and neo soul. Adele has carried the torch for the soul side of this thoroughfare, with her piano-driven ballads and massive voice proving to be a compelling alternative to prefab pop. As for folk rock/pop, Mumford & Sons has almost single-handedly reignited the roots rock movement with its infectious acoustic anthems.
Which brings us to The Lumineers.
This Denver-based trio invites immediate comparison, sound-wise, to Mumford—never mind that the band's core, Wesley Schulz and Jeremy Fraites, first started making music together back in 2002. The band's official bio describes The Lumineers' vibe as "an amalgam of heart-swelling stomp-and-clap acoustic rock, classic pop, and front-porch folk."
That's apt. From start to finish, the appropriately titled "Ho Hey" is flanked by stomping repetition of those phrases:
"(Ho) I've been trying to do it right/(Hey) I've been living a lonely life/(Ho) I've been sleeping here instead/(Hey) I've been sleeping in my bed."
It's a lyrical structure that looks funny on paper, but one that totally works out loud as we hear the story of a man separated from the woman he loves and of his longing to be reunited with her. But worth noting with regard to those first lyrics: They could imply that the man in question is sleeping alone these days instead of the wished-for alternative.
Thankfully, that's as close to anything suggestive as the song ever gets. The balance of the track finds Schulz pining away for a reunion with a woman who's moved on. "(Ho) I don't think you're right for him/(Hey) Look at what might have been/ … I belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweetheart/ … Love, we need it now/Let's hope for some/So we're bleeding now."
It's an almost startlingly downcast vibe transporting a small glimmer of hopefulness in this upbeat—stompin', rollickin'—tune.
A postscript: As for the band's bright and shiny moniker, it was actually the result of a mistake … combined with a bit of "borrowing," it seems. In a September interview with the University of Alabama's student newspaper, The Crimson White, Jeremy Fraites admitted, "We were playing a show in Jersey City about three years ago and [the MC] basically said, 'Alright, up next, Lumineers,' and we weren't called that at that point, but I guess the Lumineers were playing next week. After the show we just said, 'Hey, pretty cool name. Let's use that.'" No word on how the original Lumineers felt about the matter.