Album Review: Mumford And Sons ‘Sigh No More’

A few days ago my train home was delayed by a massive 58 minutes. But I didn’t really care, because I was listening to this album.

In all fairness I’m probably a few weeks late on this one, because these guys are already being played just about everywhere. But their debut album, ‘Sigh No More’, is so good that it deserves no less. Mumford and Sons is a five-piece folk outfit from London. At school a few members of Mumford and Sons hung around with a few guys who would go on to form this band called ‘Noah and the Whale’. Mumford and Sons’ lead singer looks a little bit like Brad Pitt in ‘Inglorious Basterds’, and he plays percussion with his feet at the same time as he plays guitar and sings. Oh, and they have a permanent banjo player. If you’re not already convinced that these guys are worth checking out, then you should be.

They have been described as ‘Coldplay reincarnated as hillbillies’, however this really isn’t giving Mumford and Sons enough credit. I’ve never heard Coldplay write lyrics as beautiful as “Love that will not betray you, dismay or enslave you/It will set you free/Be more like the man you were made to be” (the title track, ‘Sigh No More’). There’s something slightly surreal about hearing these words from the mouths of men who look like they would be quite at home in a hoedown (and indeed they have promised to perform hoedowns in their coming shows).

Like any folk artist, these guys walk a very fine line between being cliched and just being honest. On ‘Sigh No More’, however, they land on the right side of this line, and spectacularly so. Somehow they can sing “Get over your hill and see what you find there/With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair” (‘After The Storm’) over the quiet backing sound of a banjo, and make it sound genuine and sincere. I’d like to hear Coldplay do that (seriously, I would, it would sound really cool).

‘Sigh No More’ features epic, sweeping choruses, the likes of which haven’t truly been heard since ‘Funeral’. Every track contributes some strand to the overall tapestry of the album, but at the same time there are standout singles here, such as the already popular ‘Little Lion Man’, as well as ‘Sigh No More’ and ‘White Blank Page’.

You get the feeling that you’re witness to something special when you listen to this album. And, once you’ve listened to the last thirty seconds of ‘Sigh No More’ with the volume maxed, you’ll never want to go back.

Listen if you like: Noah and the Whale, Laura Marling, Conor Oberst, Monsters of Folk, good music, banjos, hoedowns

Album rated: 9/10

Artist: Mumford and Sons

Song: Little Lion Man

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