by Benjamin Quinn
Question any music listener of the current era, particularly between the ages of 16 and 25, and paint a picture of the current music industry based on their interests. The result? A mash-up of disc-jockeys, country giants, big voices, hip-hop superstars, and everyone’s personal favorite: British exports with well-coiffed hair and voices. A band, utilizing an alternative sound driven by banjos and hollering vocals could not possibly find a space in the mainstream, right? WRONG. Mumford and Sons, with their latest album Babel, have broken the “left of the dial” mold and found success, intrigue, and, in my opinion, their voice.
Released nearly three years after their debut album, Babel continues on with the songwriting formula that worked so well in the first record: emotional lyrics backed by quiet and loud instrumentals. Though fresh with new music, the album does not really present any experimental sounds to attract a new audience. Rather, Babel almost acts as a sequel to their debut album instead of an entirely new production in itself, with minor adjustments such as the addition of stadium rock elements and plenty more songs about unrequited love.
Fear not devoted Mumford fans, however, for the material on this album is still worthy of praise. From the first song, the album’s title track which introduces their much “bigger” sound, the entire foundation of the album is laid-out, as dark lyrics match songs about comfort alongside instrumentals that can be either larger than life or quiet and poignant. Tracks such as “Lovers’ Eyes,” “Holland Road,” and “Not With Haste” utilize quiet dynamics to paint portraits of tender love and hideous betrayal, while other songs such as “Hopeless Wanderer” and “Lover of the Light” bombard you with theatrical grandeur of mental anguish and optimistic love. Truly balanced, this album will provide listeners with whatever emotion they are looking to have expressed in song.