Published on November 7, 2012 | by Carleanne O'Donoghue

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Mumford and Sons’ Babel success

A year and a half in the making, the new album feels a lot more personal [Flickr]

Rating:  ★★★★★

Mumford and Sons are a band that can be tainted with a certain stigma. For some people their signature sound (a fantastic ensemble of strings including banjo, guitar and double bass) rings monotonous and unoriginal. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Not only have they managed to break a record set by the Beatles by having six songs in the Billboard hot 100, they beat Justin Bieber to the top of the US album chart (a relief to us all and a glimmer of hope for decent music), have been streamed eight million times on Spotify and have the fastest selling album of 2012.

Babel is a beautiful collection of thoughtfully written lyrics and melodies; it’s hardly surprising to think that the album was written in a year and a half as opposed to Sigh No More, the bands debut venture, which was put together in just seven weeks. This time the order of the songs and the way they feed into each other works. The feel of the album is also a lot more personal.

Front man, Marcus Mumford’s rasping vocals bring life to the stories told within the lyrics of the songs. Upon listening, you can tell that not only is this man singing for his supper, this is a man singing about his life.

There are two notable ballads, Ghosts That We Knew and Holland Road. Neither song demonstrates heavy rhythms, just dulcet tones brought to life by profound lyrics everybody can relate to and their signature tight harmonies.

Hopeless Wanderer is another fantastic creation and is probably the closest thing to a rock song the band has ever produced.  This song successfully combines electric guitar with their country style lick. A winner for anybody and a tune that’s guaranteed to get feet stomping.

The intelligent ordering of the tracks leaves Not With Haste to the final track on the album, which is a fantastic metaphor for Mumford’s recent marriage to Carey Mulligan – a moral that many fans will tattoo themselves with in coming months no doubt.

The only worry is what the future may hold for the band.

Marriage is all well and good but listeners can only hope that this doesn’t mean the next album will be full of monotonous melodies about the wonders of it.

 

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