After the release of Mumford & Sons’ 2012 album Babel (QRO review) the question was obvious: was this group going to be a one trick pony the rest of their career? Because while they certainly made great music, Babel and its predecessor Sight No More (2009) could really have just been two halves of the same whole. And then, when the band went on indefinite hiatus in 2013 there were many folks who wondered if they would even make it to the point of creating a third album.
Well, thankfully they have reached that point and first and foremost they deserve kudos for their evolution. Longtime fans of this group will find themselves quite pleasantly surprised at the direction of this quartet on their latest album, Wilder Mind. Drums and electric guitars are plentiful and banjos are not.
When first listening to the first single off of this album, “Believe,” the only familiar thing to ones ears were the yearning vocals of lead singer Marcus Mumford. Other than that, the line, “I don’t even know if I believe everything you’re trying to say to me,” held true in that one didn’t quite believe this was the same Mumford & Sons that you had been listening to for the last several years.
There are up-tempo rockers like “The Wolf”, as well as more mournful tunes such as “Snake Eyes”, with its slow organ drawl backing Mumford’s romantic yet sorrowful vocals. But even that song picks up at a certain point and exhibits yet another energy you might not be used to when you think of this group.
There are sure to be troops of naysayers bashing these guys for selling out and going the way of Coldplay-esque arena ballads, but say what you might about their new sound, at least it’s different. In today’s music scene (and the music scene of the last fifteen years) that is something you don’t actually see very often. After Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life” was so successful did those guys ever release a single that sounded different? Well, there was that album where they went country… Anyway, I digress. Do yourself a favor and give this album a shot. You may very well be surprised by what you hear.