First Guest Post By: Heather
Having been a fan of Mumford & Sons’ debut, Sigh No More, I was thrilled to hear of their recently released new album. Babel does not disappoint. The unique qualities that made their first album cling to me are intact and refined in this sophomore effort.
Unlike many bands and musicians who get airplay in the U.S., Mumford & Sons refuses to resign themselves to a popular sound. From instrumentation to chosen time signatures, there is nothing conformist about Babel.
The majority of pop music is in 4/4 meter. Mumford & Sons has a knack for recording songs in a beautiful 6/8 meter, which most people register as having the feeling of a circle or swing.
“We wanted to do something unashamed,” says Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons.
Perhaps it is the exposed nature of the lyrics and passionate sounds created by a complete use of multiple instruments that makes Babel so endearing.
As with their debut, the lyrics frequently do not make perfect sense. However, like a Lewis Carroll poem, they strike a chord of understanding within us.
And like a good novel that leaves the reader sad it is over, many of the songs on Babel leave the listener wanting more despite their unconventionally long length of over 5 minutes.
The title track “Babel” is an outstanding example of the energy of Mumford & Sons.
Although the band’s specialty is fast-paced excitement, the beauty of their craft shines in the last track “Not with Haste.” British singer Birdy covered and retitled the song “Learn Me Right” for the soundtrack to the movie Brave. The version found on Babel is no less full and remains one of my favorite tracks from the album despite the pairing down of the instruments used and its slower tempo.
Overall, I find the music on Babel true to the sound that can be found nowhere else except from Mumford & Sons. I’m sure I will be listening to this album over and over again in the coming weeks.