Indeed, it has been a short while since Marcus Mumford and lads strolled back into town, but it’s still such a gripping album, so I felt it worth discussing. So, cue major headline: Mumford & Sons have released their best album, perhaps even their only truly decent album. Go on, call me controversial, but ditching the banjos (no offence to those glorious instruments, though) has literally created a much more energetic straight 10/10. Of course, this is only my opinion, but allow me to elaborate.
Wilder Mind kicks off in a pretty punchy fashion, which is always a joy; Tompkins Square Park is an uptempo, yet modest offering. Mumford & Sons typically carry themselves as a humble band, which still comes across in this first track, but they just ooze more confidence this time around. Exchanging their traditional folk-based outfit for a more classic indie, rock ‘n’ roll portrait is the breath of fresh air I was seeking since Sigh No More. It gets better, still; Believe is the sort of hungry ballad our ears are used to from the Sons, but it’s the heavier guitars that push it that bit further.
Shoegazy bliss then meshes with thudding drums and scuzzier 90s guitar riffs in The Wolf. This number is gutsy, painting Mumford & Sons in a way that moulds them into a backwards cap kind of thrash-happy band. Are you beginning to understand how different this album is to Sigh No More and Babel? Wilder Mind, the album-titled track, is another fast-paced piece, but with much more emotion packed in, resonating more with their older crafts.
I could run through each of these stonking songs, and compliment them in turn, but I reckon it’s worth you having a listen for yourselves. It’s the synthesis between their older, original indie-folk signature style and this fresh, blazing Chris-Rea-meets-Kings-of-Leon rock template that really entices. Again, more of this new pattern continues in the cheery, melodic Just Smoke. But, when you reach Hot Gates, that’s when something additionally splendid happens; this is the tearjerker anyone familiar with Mumford & Sons would anticipate. Prepare to sob, even just a tiny bit.
Whatever your poison on this album, it’s clever, right?
If you only download one track, let it be: ‘Wilder Mind’*
*A purposefully ambiguous suggestion.