Album No. 3 Already In The Works for The Lumineers

Mark Horton
The Lumineers perform at the RBC Bluesfest in Ottawa, Canada on July 10, 2016.

After riding its debut album for the better part of four years, The Lumineers want to make sure there's a shorter interim between this year's Cleopatra and its follow-up.

Though the Denver group plans to be on the road well into 2017, it's already hatching plans to start work on material for its third studio set. "I think we're going to build in time on these tours so there can be writing retreats, so we can go somewhere when we have time off and write," the group's Wes Schultz tells Billboard. "On the last album, any time we'd have time off we'd just lay around, must exhausted. It was more like a foxhole, just getting-by survival state of mind. So now we're trying to make this thing sustainable and hopefully put out records in shorter gaps than four years -- unless they need to be -- and write in a more consistent way in-between. The last time it really was kind of feast or famine relative to the writing or the tour, so we're all trying to create more harmony between the two so there can be more of a balance between them."

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Schultz says he and bandmates Jeremiah Fraites and Neyla Pekarek have some "morsels" of new songs between them, just as the germs (or better) for Cleopatra tracks such as "Gun Song", "Sick in the Head, Sleep on the Floor" and the single "Ophelia" had been around since The Lumineers recorded its self-titled debut, and even before. There's also an appetite to build the band's repertoire even more after spending so much time with just the 11 tracks from The Lumineers album and a few extras to deal with.

"I don't think it's a healthy thing to keep playing the same thing over and over for years," Schultz explains. "It's been a relief to have new material,  essentially double to pull from, and that makes us want to write more and more records that we feel strongly about. (Cleopatra) is almost like chapter two of a book we've started -- not a total deviation from the first album, but it sounds a little more filled-out, just sonically. The vibe I get off it is it doesn't sound as much like a demo as the first one did. And I imagine the next (album) will go even further."

For now, however, Schultz and company are focusing on "Cleopatra" and the road work. And they're still basking -- albeit somewhat unsteadily -- in the set's No. 1 debut on the Billboard 200 (as well as in the U.K. and Canada) back in April.

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"I don't know what to make of that," Schultz says. "I think it helps keep people off your back, like the record label person who's really only moved emotionally by results like that. I tend to keep a little bit of distance from that; If someone says to me, 'Congratulations on the album being No. 1' or something, that doesn't mean anything vs. 'That song really affected me' or 'I really love the melody, the lyrics,' something tangible like that. But I'm glad it gave more people interest in the record. I remember my brother texting me, 'That's pretty fucking crazy, you have a No. 1 album!' Everybody was so freaked out. But I would hope that people who were waiting for it would trust that we were taking our time for a good reason."