Mumford & Sons’ long awaited sophomore album is reaching heights of great success. The English four-piece have outsold the latest releases from No Doubt and Green Day in the US, and it has become the fastest selling album of 2012 in the UK. Why, may you ask? The album is astonishing.
After witnessing the group at Rock Werchter in Belguim in June, I had the privilege of hearing new songs performed live. Marcus Mumford, while committed to playing the festival, had a fill-in guitarist perform his duties as he broke his hand two weeks prior to the event.
With the eccentric banjo bringing back folk–rock to the ballads and harmonies, the stage is once again ready for Mumford & Sons. Opening title track Babel kicks the album off in a memorable way, which is taken back to Sigh No More. Babel continues straight on from the debut. The first single I Will Wait has marked the return of the band. While there are no surprises, the songs are very fulfilling.
Holland Road takes a turn and slows the album down. This beautifully composed ballad continues to show why the band is back playing summer festivals in Europe. Lovers’ Eyes demonstrates more peaceful harmonies. The lyrics ‘Let me die where I lie / Beneath the curse of my lover’s eye’ are very heartfelt and revert back to the familiar sounds of the band.
Reaching the middle of the album is the shortest track Reminder. It takes a relieving break from all the commotion as it becomes stripped-down with only Marcus Mumford and an acoustic guitar. ‘A constant reminder of where I can find her / A light that might give up the way … Oh my love don’t fade away’ continues the theme of the heartfelt ballads.
A harmonised piano-influenced Hopeless Wanderer takes a slight twist, containing a dark chorus with lyrics ‘But hold me fast / Hold me fast / Because I’m a hopeless wanderer’. Below My Feet and Not With Haste conclude their follow-up studio album. These songs build up slowly to choruses that are suited to be played in stadiums.
While the style of Babel has certainly not changed to that of Sigh No More, it is great to hear the refreshing sounds of the band that were sorely missed.
Mumford & Sons begin their Australian tour next week.