Mumford & Sons are a British rock band from London, England, formed in 2007. The band consists of Marcus Mumford (lead vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, drums), Ben Lovett (vocals, keyboard, piano, synthesizer), Winston Marshall (vocals, electric guitar, banjo) and Ted Dwane (vocals, bass guitar, double bass).
Mumford & Sons have released three studio albums: Sigh No More (2009), Babel (2012) and Wilder Mind (2015). Sigh No Morepeaked at number two on the UK Albums Chart and the Billboard 200 in the US, with Babel and Wilder Mind both debuting at number one in the UK and US, the former becoming the fastest-selling rock album of the decade and leading to a headline performance at Glastonbury Festival in 2013. The band have also issued two live albums: Live at Shepherd’s Bush Empire (2011) and The Road to Red Rocks (2012).
The band have won a number of music awards throughout their career, with Sigh No More earning the band the Brit Award for Best British Album in 2011 and six overall Grammy Award nominations. The live performance at the 2011 Grammy ceremony with Bob Dylan and The Avett Brothers led to a surge in popularity for the band in America. The band received eight total Grammy nominations for Babel and won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. The band also won the Brit Award for Best British Group in 2013.
Tompkins Square Park—-Yes….this is a departure from this bands trademark sound…it is immediate and evident with the first strains of this opening song. The lyrics and the blended vocals are perfectly intact though. This is such a pleasant song….reminding me of a beefier Coldplay. This track s addictive and catchy as hell….Sometimes change is great!
Believe—-Wow…..sounding more airy and Chris Martin filled than Chris Martin himself. This has a bot more of an electric feel that resonated with me from the first listen. The song quiets…and then grows with the best emotional power….making me think and ponder the words. This is wonderful! The guitars are nicely understated…the accent shows up here and there….really is growing on me.
The Wolf—Muscular and electric right out of the gate, this track has a pleasant rolling guitar line that is sedate but beefy. It seems as if all the voices are at work on this track…giving it a huge feel…this is really different than past recordings…but you have to respect the hell out of this band for changing things up.
Wilder Mind—-A really nice guitar intro that almost chugs along s accompanied by an airy sound that must be a keyboard! The vocal is intense…the words layered with a darkness that makes you a bit sad. When the voices combine to sing together the track takes on a nice Alt-Country feel to it…..a triumph!
Just Smoke—-For me, this is just brilliant right out of the gate. The voice has not changed much with the sound of the music. The sadness that creeps in the lines is intense. The chorus is huge…hand-claps and all..this song is sad, joyous, inspiring and damn pleasant.
Monster—-The more I continue to listen to this release the more it really grows on me. Once you get past the different sound, you begin to embrace the pure musicianship and lyricism that makes up this band. If they are able to continue to mix things up, their career will be along storied one…this is a high point!
Snake Eyes—-Even more sedate than imaginable, this is beautifully constructed with a gentle quiet that suddenly chugs to life during the 2nd bar. The song just seems to grow larger and larger as it develops….becoming a nice centerpiece for this damn near perfect record!
Broad-Shouldered Beasts—-Stripped down and bare at the onset, the voice is so upfront in my headphones. The music is minimalist…allowing you to catch every sad word that is uttered by Mumford. This is a beautiful piano driven ballad that has one of the biggest choruses on the entire release….and then slows to a whisper just as quick. Gives the song a ghost quality that gives me goose-bumps!
Cold Arms—-Although a bit quiet, there is still a nice electric element that runs through the under belly of the song. The baritone soars with the instrumented inflection….giving the song a sad and ghostly feel…this is damn brilliant!
Ditmas—-Waking up and becoming a huge electric track that is muscular and almost fun. The lyrics are pensive and introspective…but the music has an urgency that drives the entire thing along at a great pace. This is one of the best tracks on this release….big and meaty!
Only Love—-Sad and silent….reminding me of some gem or the other from Springsteen’s Nebraska release. Then the voices all come together amid the almost silent air and the track becomes a magically beautiful composition that makes you tingle with some happiness as well. This is music!
Hot Gates—-Rounding out the proper release with this track, the release ends much as it began…with a quiet refreshing sound. The voices all blend together…making this band so cohesive. I love the drawl that is almost present on the refrains…..the music builds nicely…but never really explodes as I expected. The entire release left a most excellent taste in my mouth.
Bonus Tracks: Tompkins Square Park/Believe/The Wolf/Snake Eyes—-All the live tracks included on this edition are pretty clear cut and true to the recorded versions. The sound is a bit more muscular and the music moves a bit faster…but all of these so called bonus tracks were not necessary…..just a reason to charge 2 bucks more for the release!
****1/2 out of 5