Review: Mumford & Sons – “Wilder Mind”
May 4, 2015
Deep within the developmental processes of the musical world, there is a fork in the road that every artist must come to. No Sphinx, just their future direction guarding the way. One road follows the path the artist has already comfortably carved out, they can stay there and continue to quench the thirst their fans have kept. The other far riskier option is to grow, expand, and transform their craft along the way. But what does that say about the authenticity in their music on both accounts?
By now, everyone has a picture of Mumford & Sons in their heads. Banjos in hand, skinny jeans on their legs, they seemed to be the enlightened musketeers bands of merry hipsters were desperately pretending they weren’t waiting for. These guys have been taking over the music scene across the world for quite some time now, but they definitely do not fit the typical stereotype of a British Rock band. With their hit singles “I Will Wait” and “Little Lion Man”, the band gained lots of attention from music lovers worldwide that have a soft spot for genuine music with a Folk-y twist.
Their highly-anticipated album, Wilder Mind is finally out and I’ve sat down, given it a listen, and can honestly say that Mumford & Sons has driven their music down an entirely new path, one full of risk and infinite reward. Looks like they chose the more advanced route of the fork. In a recent interview, lead singer Marcus Mumford said: “It’s not about being as big as we can be, we don’t want to conquer anything.” Like classic bands of Britain’s past, It seems they’re not changing their sound to gain more album-sales, but rather they just want to explore something new. Something that each of them feels will strengthen them as a musician and to be quite honest, that’s all that really matters.
Strumming their electric guitar strings as hard as they did their banjos, Mumford & Sons dove into this new endeavor head first and not looking back. When I first heard that the band was recording this album with more of an electric sound, just like most people, I was a bit skeptical about how I would like their new vibes. It’s hard not to get attached to the sound you know and love while still being excited for your favorite musicians and their respectable growth.
But the British rockers really know what they’re doing. From the minute you hit play on “Tompkins Square Park” (which happens to be my favorite track on the album and a real park in the Big Apple), you immediately sense the different sound surrounding Marcus’s leading vocals. The heartfelt lyrics and the calming-yet upbeat melody that the band is known for is still prevalent in every track on this album, though. So no need to get scared.
The next two tracks are “Believe” and “The Wolf” which were both released ahead of the album to give fans a clue of the metamorphosis their sound has undergone. While listening to both of these songs, I picture myself driving on the highway late at night just analyzing life and everything that I’ve ever experienced. If Mumford hasn’t made you feel that way at least once, you’re not listening to them right. Both tracks encompass an uplifting beat which continues to set the mood for the rest of the album. Three songs in and I’m already thinking about how this album will be on repeat for the next few weeks and more realistically… months.
Mumford & Sons really take it back to their unique mellow sound on “Cold Arms”. The lyrics are carried by a melody that drips with angst and conversations left unfinished. I really do admire Mumford for his passionate words, I’ve spent endless amounts of my time listening to the band’s music when going through loss or a bad breakup. Their music has and always will serve as my proper escape from reality. When I’m able to connect to an artist like that, I’m immediately reminded of why I love music so much. Whether you’re a new fan or have been with the band ever since their first album Sigh No More, you will not be disappointed with Wilder Mind. Even if your heart can’t let go of their Folk-y roots, you have to give them (and their big balls) props for making such a big transition musically.
The deluxe version of Wilder Mind includes four extra tracks which embrace live versions of “Tompkins Square Park”, “Believe”, “The Wolf”, and “Snake Eyes”. Certainly a plus for any Mumford fan or curious discoverer who want to fall deeper in love with their insane musical skill.
This is a big step for Mumford & Sons, and I do hope it pays off as well as their musical execution. I’m excited for the band’s future and I am even more excited to watch them headline this year’s Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. Get listening, peeps!