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I mean yeah, they’re playing electric guitars now, and the heavy double bass stomping and single kick has been replaced by proper drum kits, but this clickbait fever declaring ‘MUMFORD AND SONS ARE CHANGING GENRE” isn’t really all that novel. You can hear the folk in this new ‘rock’, and retrospectively their older material is laced with an edgier side.
All that aside, though, it’s a fairly good record. It’s easy to write the album off before listening, remembering how quickly Marcus Mumford and his musketeers had turned naff, but there are some moments where the British four-piece look set to redeem themselves.
I mean, if you’re drawing comparisons to The National there’s definitely something going right – right? Aaron Dessner oversaw some of the Mumford clan’s early sessions and it’s easy to see the influence from the beginning, which is a nice crossover to this new electric sound. The worry was, after lead single Believe was released, that they’d turned into Coldplay pre-conscious uncoupling. Believe, despite its rousing stadium-worthy chorus, isn’t what you’ll get from the rest of the album – its varied tracks really are a mixed bag that somehow seem to gel together quite nicely.
What has stayed of the band’s troubadour past are the beautiful harmonies that we all pretended didn’t give us shivers, and Mumford’s penchant for ye olde words. Only Love might as well have come off either of the first two albums, though it seems slightly more reserved before it drops into a Proper Rock Banger – less ‘folk for folk’s sake’.
Granted, there are some moments when the foray into rock seems a bit premature and out of place, or where it doesn’t mix with what they’ve kept of their previous sound. However, one overarching theme is that the melodies the whole way through are stunning, and it honestly does make up for any overambition.
If you need one song to convince you,Ditmas summarises this new incarnation well. Mumford’s voice sounds genuinely stunning, the melody is simple and pretty, and the technical skill and musical prowess of the band is revealed now the tangle of rompastomping banjos has cleared. More of that please, lads.
Listen: Mumford & Sons – Believe