“I’ll be yours, if you’ll be mine”
This blog had been less than a week old when we first introduced you to Mumford & Sons, having no idea that these soon-to-be rock stars would shortly bring the music world to its knees. Having spent an insurmountable time on the charts with their debut album, Sigh No More proved that this little Brit band was more than just a flash in the pan. Having said that, I had been less than optimistic about this album, unsure if Babel could compete with, even excel its predecessor. I had no need to worry, of course. Honestly, after Sigh No More‘s never ending tour of the iTunes Top 10, I felt put off, in a way. I couldn’t help but be a bit cynical. “Yes, we get it. They’re awesome. Now, can we move on?” I ask that you please not hold it against me, for I did not know any better. It wasn’t until I heard the initial opening hymns of Babel that my love for Mumford & Sons was renewed.
Babel brings with it, that classic Mumford charm; the strum of the guitar, the beat of the drum, all played with reckless abandon. There’s a vulnerability, a pain in Marcus Mumford’s voice that is hard to resist. There’s passion, rare and unequaled. The tracks themselves act as self-deprecating love songs, gentle at first, expanding into monumental and dynamic productions. They speak of regret and loss, change and belief. Each anthem, with their layers of harmonies, come together to create one entity. Yet, you are able to hear each pulse of the drum, the elaborate quiver of the banjo, and the thrum of the bass clearly through the stock.
At first glance, you might find a sense of familiarity in the melodies – the standard Mumford rhythmic patterns. NO. We can not discount the fact that these songs have the ability to sound the same. If you take the time to listen again – break down the barriers that hinder you – you will find that they’re not only extensions of one another, but the tracks are magnificently crafted all on their own. It takes time, a bit of finesse, to shatter those heavy rhythms and find the unassumingly romantic, devotional lyrics. Not With Haste gives us sizeable segments of the aforementioned, with remarkably novel, beautifully skilled strains. “Learn me hard. Oh, learn me right.”
Weirdly enough, it was quite easy to pick my favorite track on the record. Lover of the Light goes above and beyond with a few swoon worthy phrases here and there. A tad more lighthearted than the others, it could comfortably be a rightful closer to this Brit-folk album. You’ll discover the title track is similar to Light in melodic theme, but with a tad more oomph to it. I Will Wait, on the other hand, is comparable lyrically, relentless in its communication, hopeful for a change of heart. Furthermore, Whispers In the Dark is a delightful surprise. Don’t be swayed by its common start, the track quickly develops into a foot tapping chorale.
With its initially simplistic and increasingly dark melody, you’ll easily spot Broken Crown as a prime definition for indignation and sorrowful romanticism. Fair warning, you might want to grab the tissues and keep them handy for Reminder and Lover’s Eyes, as well. I guarantee you will be unable to control yourself as the band chant together, reaching further and higher into the sky with their harmonic calls. “I’ll walk slow. Take my hand, help me on my way. I’ll walk slow.”
If those weren’t enough to convince you, effortlessly one of the best tracks on the album, Below My Feet will settle your vote. No need to say more, you’ll find out for yourself.
This an exceptional record, without a doubt. I will admit, there isn’t much variation. That isn’t how Mumford & Sons gained their popularity. They use a formula and they use it well. Babel takes that formula and expands it, makes it better. If you’re a Mumford fan, you’ll love the record regardless. It’s intense, lyrically riveting, and very satisfying. This is Mumford & Sons at their best.
Album Rating: A
Buy Babel on iTunes HERE
For more Mumford & Sons visit their Official Website
Have you listened to Babel? What did you think of the album? What was your favorite track? What’s your favorite Mumford song? Tell me in the comments!