Mumford & Sons
In the three years since ‘Sigh No More’, Mumford & Sons have supersized. They’ve played for the President at an intimate White House reception. Their frontman has married a Hollywood A-lister. All the while, album sales have continued at a speed that would wear out even the hardiest of Amazon warehouse forklift trucks. ‘Sigh No More’ – a BRIT winner, if you remember – has gone four times platinum on these shores and twice platinum in the United States. Impressive for a folk band and astonishing when we’re forever told that nobody buys albums. However, there comes a point where all this success stops being astonishing and starts seeming unfathomable. In fact, it’s at an exact point: it’s when you press play. Predictably enough, ‘Babel’ is like its forebear, an album of grandiose folk music delivered by four men who look like they’ve been napping in a hay bale since 1887. It is an album of stomping hoedowns and widdling banjos, while sticking with each banal plod to the end yields yet-another barn-sized crescendo. Effectively, it is emo for Blacksmiths.
This would all be semi-tolerable, were it not for the sickeningly overwrought poetry bobbing on top. Lyrically, Marcus Mumford’s words are so hackneyed they could be considered an extension of the London borough itself. Throughout, walls “come tumbling down”, while he froths about “seeing the light”, casts promises to “wait for you”, and admits to being “lost” so often we’re considering buying him a Sat Nav (we won’t, though – he’d probably decry it as Witchcraft). Regardless, Mumford & Sons’ ongoing ascent is assured. After all, they’ve already survived the most potent threat to their supremacy: a public endorsement from a Conservative Prime Minister. At this point, not even a Kevlar-plated, multi-caterpillar- tracked Adele-shaped assault tank could stop them. They’re indestructible.