Mumford & Sons : Babel
Mumford & Sons brought the music world to its knees with their debut release of 2009, Sigh No More, and are set to do it all again with follow-up Babel. Deftly side-stepping that awkward second-album questionability, the folk rock troubadours stay true to their sound while recording in such a way it often feels the band are right there, rocking out with you in your lounge room (some tracks were recorded live). There’s that old saying, if it ain’t broke… well, it most certainly is not broke.
Album opener and title track welcomes listeners back to the Mumford fold with open arms, its instantly epic sound saturating every inch of the air from start to finish. Definitely one of the standout tracks on the album and just the beginning of a journey where true song craft and musical brilliance carry each foot forward. At its end, Not With Haste rings of inner fulfillment and triumphantly speaks straight to the heart: “I am what I am/I leave no ties for a cynic’s mind.” The perfect closer.
This band has absolutely nailed the art of the climactic build. In songs like Lovers Eyes, Broken Crown and Below My Feet, the listener is guided gently from acoustic strums below frontman Marcus Mumford’s raspy, earning vocals, only minutes later to be swept up in an urgent flurry of banjos, guitars and percussion, like a sports star carried on the shoulders of his biggest fans.
Another builder, Hopeless Wanderer, sits alongside first single I Will Wait as an album highlight, its tumultuous yet driving rhythm irresistible to the ears. In fact, whether it’s acoustic, full-bodied or somewhere in between, Babel is an utterly addictive album and shows a band in its prime with plenty left in the tank. The only challenge they face now is playing enough shows for us all in December.
BY JEN WILSON
Best Track: Babel
If You Like These, You’ll Like This: LAURA MARLING, JOHN BUTLER TRIO, DAN MANGAN
In A Word: Addictive