Young Colorado-based trio (two guys and a girl) The Lumineers have risen to the surface of the popular alt-folk-rock movement, finding themselves sitting at number 17 on the Billboard charts when they released their debut album earlier this year.

There have been passing comparisons to Mumford & Sons, but they're less pop-oriented, and more intimate than that outfit (plus they don't have a ukulele - just some mandolins and a cello). Closer to home they have much in common with Lyttleton's The Unfaithful Ways, or Auckland's Great North, though they're perhaps a touch more upbeat than either of those. But they do sombre (on tracks like Slow It Down or Charlie Boy) as well as they do jubilant (like early single Ho Hey or Classy Girls), with a warm and guileless energy, and lead singer Wesley Schultz sounds spirited and real, ever-present in the words he delivers.

There's a strong sense of classic American history in the lyrical material, references to flapper girls, JFK-era parades, heading West, (Schultz and second man Jeremiah Fraites left New York and headed to Denver to find their missing link - which turned out to be cellist Neyla Pekarek), beers drunk in bars, gambling, and hard truths.

It's all great fun, and one can only imagine it would be even more magical live (when they rope in further players to help fill out the many layers of piano, drums, percussion, and guitars).


Stars: 4/5

- TimeOut