Review of Mumford And Sons album Sign No More.
After what seemed like an eternity of indie bands equipped with sharp spiky guitar riffs and lyrics from inside the dole queue, it would seem that the British music conveyer belt has began to spit out a different form of product entirely of late. It would also appear that it's now cool to like folk! Who would have guessed it? Welcome to 'nu-folk where It doesn't have to be about old men sitting on stools with long matted beards plucking at worn out guitars after all. In truth London four piece, Mumford and Sons don't look to dissimilar from the bands that were blagging their way around the indie circuit with a guitar and keyboard 18 months ago, these boys however, choose to equip themselves with a banjo, a double bass and the odd moustache for good measure.
Fronted by ex Laura Marling drummer Marcus Mumford, Mumford and sons have set about an ambitious task. An album that's as intricate as it is big, the musicianship on Sigh No More had to be spot on to achieve its intended sound and not rely too much on production, luckily Mumford and sons seem to be a band of talented individuals as well a water tight unit and appear to achieve that ambition with ease.
Tracks such as the atmospheric opener Sigh no more with its outstanding vocals as well as the passionate White blank page are perfect examples of Mumford and sons ability to both excite and entertain simultaneously. Songs that switch savagely from a lull to a lashing in the matter of seconds provide constant intrigue throughout.
As well as traditional folky numbers such as, I gave you all and Timshel, Sigh no more also contains some more contemporary numbers, Little Lion Man with its powerful chorus 'It was not your fault but mine, it was your heart on the line' I really fucked it up this time' could prove to be their breakthrough single if re released. The same can be said for the uplifting brass driven jaunt of Winter Winds with its talk of 'letting love grow' clearly the albums highlight.
Being from London and writing epic folk songs is always going to be risky business. It could all easily end up a shade David Brent on training day with lyrics about 'the serpents that guard the gates of hell' bellowing over some dodgy acoustic guitar playing. And sure, there are times on Sigh no more when lyrically it maybe tries to hard to be profound. However, Mumford and Sons seem to have the art of modern folk song writing down to a tee and such details shouldn't detract from that. They don't approach the genre in a Billy Bragg frame of mind, there's isn't much in the way of teeth grinding political passion floating around on Sigh No More, but what you are treated to is a collection of carefully constructed songs that brim with passion while occasionally having enough pop leanings to remain radio friendly.