With the release of “Babel” in 2012, Mumford and Sons have indeed developed a great reputation for themselves. The album debuted at number one on both the UK album charts as well as the US billboard 200. It has also become one of the fastest selling albums in the UK, selling 159,000 copies in the first week. With the release of their new album “Wilder Mind” on May 4th, will this band continue to develop great and resounding music and live up to the existing hype?
Mumford and Sons is a folk rock band from London, England. The band is a quartet consisting of Marcus Mumford, who is the lead vocalist and also plays instruments like the acoustic and electric guitar. Ben Lovett, who displays his skills on the drums and the synthesizer, Winston Marshall, who manages the electric guitar as well, and Ted Dwane, who plays bass guitar. They have so far released 3 albums, “Sigh No More” (2009), “Babel” (2012) and now, “Wilder Mind”.
The new album shocked me with a big change in the way that the band chose to convey their music. “Disappearing Banjos” should have been the new name for the album as the band has taken a step in a different direction, throwing away most of the acoustic instruments and replacing them with prominent percussive energy and amazing riffs on the electric guitar.
The first single on the new album, “Believe”, generated a lot of controversy as many people felt that the band was underplaying their music and that the arrangement did not suit the kind of music that the band should play. However, in my opinion, the lyrics of “Believe” make this song one of the most empowering songs that I have heard. It speaks of the difficulties and strains of an arduous relationship via the raspy, belting vocals of Marcus Mumford. The delivery of the drums and the electric guitar midway through gives the punch that does the song justice in the end.
The next track, “The Wolf”, goes “right to the feels” opening the song with a bang. The consistent bass line and drums make this song such a pleasure to listen to. And the backing vocals that can be heard in the prechorus to the chorus help to give the music an additional layer to appreciate. However, I feel that the backing vocals could have been more consistent throughout the song, as the overall vocal power struggles to keep up with the energy of the instrumentals.
The lead single, “Wilder Mind”, honestly isn’t the best track in the album. It doesn’t pack the hardest punch either lyrically or instrumentally. However, I appreciate the toning down of some of the tracks as the album is full of fast paced “loud” music that could get a little overkill. “Ditmas” remains as one of my favourite songs of the album. The power of the drums and the melodic hooks add a great touch to the song. The backing vocals and the riffs of the electric guitar enhances the beauty of this track. The song touches me in a way that many songs are unable to, dealing as it does with the aftermath of a broken relationship. Songs like “Tompkins Square Park” show the versatility of the band, with groovy basslines and the stunning performance of the vocalists. This song is indeed performed to impress.
Although there are some songs that could be improved upon, I feel that no track is downright bad or off, and the lyrical sincerity of the band still continues to amaze me. All in all, “Wilder Mind” honestly isn’t my favourite album on the first listen. However, this album does eventually grow on you. The band’s transition of music genre shows how versatile they are as a quartet.