Mumford and Sons – Wilder Mind – by John Beaudin
June 1, 2015 – There’s been questions on whether Mumford and Sons were re-creating the folk-rock genre in 2009 with their debut, ‘Sign No More’ or simply jumping on it. My first impression was that I kind of believed Marcus Mumford and the boys from the get-go. Maybe they built it or were just riding the train. One thing’s for sure that first album was a sleeper – it took 72 weeks to peak at #2 on Billboard. If something good was going on it sure took time for folks to pay attention.
In 2012, the band built up the sound with ‘Babel’. So much so that many of the tunes gave off that shindig vibe. Mumford managed to make their tunes events in that back yard and that sing-a-long quota gives it a community spirit. Keeping with it’s folk lineage it’s not complicated and like a good cliche it’s truth is simple and meant for easy understanding. ‘Babel’ had five singles and reached #1 on Billboard.
With this new project the first reaction is, “Where’s the banjo?” Marcus Mumford says it was just time for a change – a more electric one.
Mumford and Sons up until this point have had a similar vibe with all the tunes on the two first albums. Their sound was very distinctive. Some folks complained many of the songs sounded the same while the fans were there because of that heavy dose. ‘Wilder Mind’ does have a new direction. It’s not so drastic to break someone’s back but like the first two this new changed vibe is pretty consistent throughout the album. If you like it then Kumbayah to you. I have to saw I got flashbacks of Coldplay many times while listening to “Wilder Mind.’ Erase the banjo and Gwyneth will pop into your mind?
‘Tompkins Square Park,’ the first tune is easily one of the best tracks on the project.. I came upon something late in my life about music…That there is sometimes a disconnect concerning what is fun to play and fun to listen to…deep play..deep..listen…or challenging. This one seems like it would meet both criteria. Marcus Mumfords phrasing on the title lyric just gives it more importance. A little nuance like singing Tompkins Square and speaking the word Park.
‘Snake Eyes’ has the band and listener on the same floor…it’s hypnotic, it’s deep, moody. If it doesn’t bring you there, you might want to check in. Elton John got into that groove on his last two albums. It’s almost a sense of taping into a space that’s alluring as it is unapologetic.
The first single ‘Believe” is a builder – a la Coldplay. It’s a tune about trust. It reminded me of being in grade six and realizing I don’t get her because she’s an apple and I’m something different.
The band choose “The Wolf’ as the second single and its definitely a driving tune. It’s that stompin’ down piece on the project. Marcus sings about protecting a lover and/or friend from that sly archetype – the wolf. Marcus grew up the son of John and Eleanor Mumford, who are the national leaders of the Vineyard Church in the U.K. Even though he once told Rolling Stone magazine, “I Wouldn’t Call Myself A Christian” the music of the band is filled with imagery of faith. This could be one of those songs and if so the Wolf is better on the other side of the door.
Maybe they don’t sound like hipsters anymore but they were never known as a totally bearded band
Losing your banjo is never fun! Unless your Mumford and Sons….too much of anything either makes it invisible or intolerable…Mainstream pop to more alt-rock
It’s early for Mumford and company. Exploding from the get-go comes with fine print..fans make it harder for you to change. Mumfords debut came with gradual build which leaves the band much room to grow and that stretch is quite evident on ‘Wilder Mind.’