Marcus Mumford’s band formed in 2007 and released their debut album Sigh No More in October 2009, gathering praise for their upbeat indie-folk tunes like ‘The Cave’ and ‘Little Lion Man’. Now Mumford & Sons are back with their sophomore record and fans of their first album won’t be disappointed.
Babel bursts into life with the passionate and dramatic style that Mumford & Sons rose to fame with. ‘Babel’, the title track of the album, meshes together with the similarly energetic ‘A Whisper in the Dark’ and ‘I Will Wait’. These three songs provide a very strong base which the album builds upon.
‘Holland Drive’ changes the pace of the album. It’s much slower and reminiscent of ‘I Gave You All’ from their debut – as with the tracks before it all feels very familiar, very distinctly Mumford & Sons. A mix of jovial and gentle songs follows, ensuring that the album keeps your attention. ‘Hopeless Wanderer’ is a track which switches between these two styles, it is both very powerful but clearly rooted in folk music.
The album doesn’t show much development, and given the success of Sigh No More perhaps Mumford & Sons have decided to stick with a formula they know works, with a few tweaks here and there. While this means that the album does live up to expectations, it doesn’t amaze or experiment. It does feature many tracks which speak from the heart of Markus Mumford, with lyrics that talk about bleeding hearts, aimlessness and unwanted change, but is not much more than Sigh No More part II.
If you’re a Mumford fan like myself this is a must have, if you didn’t like them before its unlikely that that will have changed. Not a poor showing by any means, Mumford are sticking to their strengths, but if they don’t experiment a little they could quickly become stale.