After 2009’s Sigh No More, Mumford & Sons found themselves owning their very own instruments for the first time.
Obviously the band has come a long way since those Fall days three years ago. During this time, they toured and pieced together creations that eventually turned into Babel. The 2012 release is the fastest selling album of 2012 in the United States. Not bad for a crew that only realized hardware ownership a few years ago.
Babel starts off extremely impressively. The title track is positively upbeat and twangy, yet vocalist Marcus Mumford still burns his aggressive tones through the airwaves. It is a pleasant balance. The next two tracks are equally as impressive, including the lead single “I Will Wait.” While each track continues the vocal harmonies and country/folk influence found in the first, none of the first three hold a candle to what is to come.
Stemming off of what was just said, read, whatever – namely “Ghosts That We Knew,” “Lovers’ Eyes,” “Broken Crown” and “Below My Feet” all stand out, in a big way. What is clearly evident while travelling through these songs is that you are becoming a part of something sincere and memorable. Each carries this precious weight that bears down heavily on your heart. Unless, of course, you have no heart, in which case Babel will do nothing for you. Please disregard if this is the case.
“Ghosts That We Knew” is haunting and brilliant. Mumford is phenomenal as the track sucks you in from the start and never really loosens its grip. “Lovers’ Eyes,” which is gorgeous in its entirety, is only the second best song the record has to offer. Mumford, somber as he may seem, claims “Love was kind, for a time / Now just aches and it makes me blind.” With “Broken Crown” it is again much darker than what you may be used to. Mumford shrieks as the track hits its peak, mixed with the horrifying instrumentation – the song again sucks you in. The fact that the standout track follows it makes it that much better in my opinion. “Below My Feet” is wondrous and beautiful. I have claimed to hear only a few tracks this year where I immediately labelled them potential “Track of the Year” contenders – this being one of them. The first time I heard the song, pulsing through the album in its entirety, as I often do, I stopped and completely lost track of everything else in my world. Since then, a similar mindset has occurred each and every time I have coursed through the four minutes and 52 seconds the song has to offer.
While the album is not entirely perfect, the memorable moments are breathtaking and absolute. For that reason, Mumford & Sons may in fact be great – already. And if not, at the very least, they no longer have to borrow mandolins to tell their tale. Good for you guys, you deserve it.
For Those Who Like: Of Monsters & Men‘s My Head Is An Animal – The Tallest Man On Earth‘s There’s No Leaving Now – Noah And The Whale‘s The First Days Of Spring