It’s almost indisputable these days to say that Mumford and Sons are one of the best bands around. When you think about it, though, it is crazy. They’ve released one album and yeah it went bonkers, but still they’re a British bluegrass band. How crazy is it to say that? It’s virtually unthinkable that a band from England could have such success doing a style of music that is so wholly American and yet not only do they do that, but they thrive at it. They are at the top of the mountain along with the Avett brothers as the pinnacle of the new wave of bluegrass music.
So when their new album, Babel, came out last week, you could feel the anxious fans waiting by their computers at midnight to download it. You could see it selling out at record stores, which doesn’t happen anymore. There’s a reason people wait for these albums to drop then scoop them up, like a pelican diving for fish, it’s because of greatness and hype, but mostly greatness. You see when people fawn over stars like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry or Justin Bieber it’s mostly hype, but Mumford and Sons are different.
Babel exemplifies that difference like a driving force through an inanimate object. From the first album to the second this band has grown leaps and bounds. Their first album was phenomenal, but it isn’t the first album that makes true greatness, but the second album. Bands can work their whole life to make their first album, but once it takes off the record label is pushing them, almost immediately to drop the second one. They need to capitalize on that interest, because in today’s ADD society interest is so fleeting.
Not only does the album have more energy and more ferocity, but the second half of the album is a softer more emphatic Mumford. The album is absolutely brilliant, it captures the essence of the performance I witnessed at the Gentlemen of the Road Tour in Monterey and encapsulates it into digital form. There is no sophomore jinx, there are no regrets. Not with this album and not after almost constantly being on the road for two years.
Mumford and Sons have done something no one thought they could do. They took bluegrass, put an Indie spin on it and exceeded even their own expectations. It would shock me if after a fantastic first week of sales that this album didn’t at least go platinum at some point. Until then enjoy the sounds of the new normal.
Best Song: I Will Wait – This song has the ferocity I was speaking of. It is such a contradictory song that you can’t help but get caught up in the story. This song makes the album even more rich than it already is.