Record Screams More “Pop” than Classic Mumford Sound
By Dennise DeJesus
Mumford & Sons released regular and deluxe editions of their third album “Wilder Mind” in early May. The band, no stranger to U.S. audiences, presented a newer, electronic indie sound in comparison to their previous sound.
Fans of the band’s original sound have jeered the idea of the band directing to this sound due to the lack of depth within the songs.For those who are unfamiliar with the Mumford & Sons, the band is known for portraying a West-England folk sound. The English band was considered unique from other bands due to their incorporation of the banjo and the mandolin in their music line-up.
Additionally, the band’s original imagery and style in albums “Sigh No More” and “Babel” contained warmth with the musical harmonies and the raw, emotional timbre of Marcus Mumford’s howling voice. Though mainly musically, the band has been linked to imagery among hipsters due to their eclectic nature and vintage-feel.
Mumford & Sons are not just a generic hipster band. In 2013, they received acclaim by being nominated in six categories of Grammy Awards. They won Album of the Year for “Babel,” which featured the hit single “I Will Wait,” which put their name in the spotlight.Their lyrical harmony often illustrated stories of struggles and love. They have currently shed their familiar folk-sound for an up-tempo electronic sound. Leading to “Wilder Mind” the band gave fans a taste of this sound by releasing the singles “Believe” and “The Wolf.”
Though “Wilder Mind” lacks the same warmth of the instrumental combinations of mandolin, banjo, and horn arrangements in “Sigh No More” and “Babel,” the album still maintains warmth with mellow, but rapid guitar riffs and quick drum beats that create kinetic energy to complement the song.
Opening up the album is “Tompkins Square Park.” Though written as a song of regret, the song’s melody actually is quite energizing. As the song starts, a guitar riffs quickly but smoothly are accompanied by quick drum beats.
As Mumford begins to sing, the lyrics reveal that a story is being told. “Oh babe, meet me in Tompkins Square Park/I wanna hold you in the dark/One last time/Just one last time/Oh babe, can you tell what’s on my tongue?/Can you guess that I’ll be gone?/With the twilight/With the twilight.”
After the end of “Tompkins Square Park” the song transitions to Mumford’s smooth vocals in “Believe.”
The song starts out slow but mellow with ethereal beats corresponding to piano playing. Midway through the end of the song, the tempo quickens with a faster tempo as a guitar riffs quickly in a solo.
The sound of the song is reminiscent to the original sound of the band, hinted in drum playing. Lyrically, the song is basic compared to the previous songs of the band. The lyrics, “So open up my eyes/Tell me I’m alive/This is never gonna go our way/If I’m gonna have to guess what’s on your mind” lack the poetry of a conventional Mumford and Sons song, with the song’s meaning to be interpreted as a generic love song where the lover cannot determine what their loved one desires.
“The Wolf” is possibly the most upbeat and energizing song of the album. The fast rhythms of the drums and the guitar riffs form an upbeat song one can bounce their head to. Lyrically, the song describes a person’s desire to learn how to love someone instead of lusting overthem.
“You’ve been wandering for days/How you felt me slip your mind/Leave behind your wanting ways/I want to learn to love and kind/Cause you were all I ever longed for.” The lyrics can come across as repetitive and lacking in depth.
Plus, the warmth from emotions are quite sub-par or barely there.The uniqueness of banjo and mandolin are filled by the generic sound of a synthesizer. The emotions of Mumford’s lead vocals are still there, but lack the raw, coarse emotions portrayed in previous albums.
For those who are looking for a generic pop-rock album, this is for you. But for fans who crave that raw sound of Mumford & Sons, this album is not worth listening to.