7th December 2012, I was in the sold out crowd gathered at the LG Arena in Birmingham to see Mumford and Sons. I can tell you now that I have seen a lot of bands live and they were by far one of the most passionate and atmospheric, they blew me away. The simplistic fairy lights hanging over the crowd, the roar of Marcus’ voice, the strum of the banjo and the way the crowd danced, everything was so entrancing.
Moving on to 2013, Mumford and Sons hit the peak of popularity with 2 incredibly strong and unique sounding albums in their discography, sold out tours left, right and centre and to top it off a headline spot on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury along with the likes of Arctic Monkeys and The Rolling Stones. Then it was announced they were to cancel dates on their US Summer tour, as bassist Ted Dwayne received surgery to remove a blood clot found in his brain. Next thing we know they are on a break for the foreseeable future.
Now they’re back with new album Wilder Mind, Mumford and Sons have gone from the beloved folk band who won our hearts to a crossover of instrumentals that sound very Stokes-esque and lyrics that Coldplay would be proud of. The frantic strumming of the banjo and the rough edge to Marcus’ vocals seem to have vanished and have been replaced by electric guitars and softer tones. Don’t get me wrong there are still points on Wilder Mind where Marcus will scream out a chorus but they are now more few and far between. They have certainly matured and taken a drastic change in direction, which may put many fans off, but there are still elements of their old ways carefully structured into this new sound.
For starters their songs still centre around the same topics relationships, regret and the occasional reference that could be seen as talking about God. Opening track “Tompkins Square Park” seems to be about a failing relationship and is quite a strong opener. The next track is their first single from the album “Believe”, this is where reminders of Coldplay can be seen quite strongly and Marcus sounds very much like Chris Martin (if you’re an avid Coldplay hater maybe steer clear of this one)!
One of the standout songs of the album “Ditmas” is a reminder Mumford and Sons still have their folk roots somewhere deep down with the familiar roar of Marcus’ vocals, and then there is “Only Love” which at first seems like it is going to be another ballad but then kicks in with a high tempo instrumental.
The rest of the songs seem like fillers to me in a sense that they are just okay and none of them really “wow” me. A lot of them sound similar in the sense that the tempo is slow, and there is no real passion or meaning to them. I would say “Monster” and “Hot Gates” are perfect examples of this and in all honestly they are two of the biggest disappointments on the album.
Overall its not a bad album but my problem with it is, to quote my mom “they sound just like every other mainstream band now!” Don’t get me wrong there are some great tracks on the album but on the whole it left me feeling a little disappointed. I am missing the spark, the passion that I saw in them back in 2012, they seem to have lost it and the album just seems like an easy moneymaker. I guess what I’m saying is have a listen and see for yourself. 4/10