Although it’s hard to believe that Mumford & Sons could top their previous chart- topping album, Sigh No More, the band doesn’t cease to amaze. This past Tuesday, Mumford & Sons released their second official album, Babel, and it proves to be just as amazing as the first. Although Babel introduces new recording elements that are pithier, lighter, and more large-scale than Sigh No More, Babel stays true to the band’s folk roots.
The English folk-rock band first emerged out of the “West London folk scene” in 2007, recorded their first EP, Love Your Ground and performed to small audiences in both the UK and the United States to establish their name. In 2009, the band released their debut album, Sigh No More. It went platinum four times in the United Kingdom and platinum twice in the United States. Singles from the album, like “The Cave” and “Little Lion Man,” became anthems of the year. After the immense success following their first album, the band — which consists of Marcus Mumford, Ben Lovett, Winston Marshall, and Ted Dwane — took a hiatus to write music and develop ideas they would later collaborate on in Nashville to make their next hit record, Babel.
Songs like the first single, “I Will Wait,” and “Lovers’ Eyes” prove that the band can do more ballad-like melodies with enough dramatic build-ups and drops that could go head-to-head with U2. Babel also has an overwhelming presence of religious metaphors, which is partly due to Mumford’s evangelical origin. The title of the album refers to the renowned religious tower of Babel. The biblical references that are ever-present in tunes like “Below my Feet” and “Whispers in the Dark” prove the band’s intention to “serve the Lord” above all things.
The unique flavors of brass, steel, drums, and whooping and hollering that made the band famous still back the same undeniable, heart-wrenching, soulful conviction of Mumford’s vocals. With the same brew of love, lust, heartache, wanderlust and Christian spirituality, the sound of Mumford & Sons is more vulnerable, accessible and truthful than ever.
Listeners will also like: Of Monsters and Men, Passion Pit, The Head and the Heart, and Death Cab for Cutie.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10