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Album: Mumford's new Babel

By Taylor Fulkerson
On October 5, 2012

There was a lot of buzz this summer over Mumford & Sons.
Concert tickets sold like crazy and at a venue in Columbus, the show was oversold by double the occupancy. Their addictive first release and energetic live performances adequately set the stage for the release of their sophomore album,
and it's finally here. Babel was released a week ago yesterday, Sept. 25. Mumford & Sons, in the most general terms, works on the basis of an energy-driven mastery of its members talents. The English folk band has a strong acoustic sound. Each member plays multiple instruments, often at the same time, which makes the dynamic foursome sound a lot bigger than they look. An initial listen of the album easily recalls their first album Sigh No More: rich harmonies, footstomping rhythms and hopeful lyrics. It's a consistent transition into their sophomore release but with some slight changes. The pace of the album feels a bit faster. The music isn't quite as
reflective and is prone to find a faster tempo by the time the chorus comes. Their style is of course similar, but on the whole, it is definitely more polished. The album has its surprises; the move towards new instrumentation is unexpected
but pleasant. The band went so far as to include a sweeping string harmony on "Broken Crown" in addition to the horn line they've previously utilized. An intended howl of feedback at the end of "Whispers in the Dark" is a far cry from their previous sound, but doesn't determine the rest of the album. Nevertheless, experimentation is now on the table. Two singles have already been released - "Babel," the title track, and "I Will Wait." The two tracks compliment the band's previous singles well. They bring the intensity of "Little Lion Man" from their first record and are sure to get radio time. This album leaves just a bit to be desired, though. This album is clearly the Mumford & Sons we were all introduced to in Sigh No More, but Babel has a much smaller impact in comparison. Before this group broke on the scene about three years ago, who knew banjos were even remotely available in England? The folk sound of Mumford & Sons was refreshing, but we've heard that already. The little-apparent growth from then to now is slightly disappointing, but if you're simply looking for more content from this energetic group, then this album is a good match for you.  

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