When an album comes about by accident it can do a lot to a band, maybe be a hit and maybe be a miss. Mumford & Sons have just released their third album Wilder Mind, drastically changing their style from the iconic folk band they are, to the new sound they have created.
This album shows the departure from the tones they are known for. Gone are the banjos and instead we hear the textured inlays from a more musical input. This album has a more rock/alternative edge to it with Marcus Mumford saying this is ‘a development, not a departure.’ But gone are the sounds from Sigh No More and Babel, which true fans admired.
Believe is the first single released from Wilder Mind after being heard a month ago. This song can only be described as a crossover between Coldplay and Snow Patrol. There are no banjos in sight, the intro sounds exactly like Coldplay and with the build up of instruments you believe the banjo will come in and take over the song, but unfortunately no. This song will sell however; it is a perfect song for an arena tour and the one good thing is we haven’t lost the intense lyrics combined with the creativity within the use of instruments, ‘open up my eyes, tell me I’m alive’. This creates a perfect atmosphere for a song of this kind, it builds up that overwhelming ability, but just isn’t what is expected from Mumford & Sons.
The Wolf follows on from Believe with the lyrics being the forefront of the song and some resemblance to the Mumford & Sons we all remember. Don’t get me wrong, there are no banjos, the drums take over and that unfamiliar electric guitar kicks in. But Marcus Mumford screams out those heartfelt lyrics again like we remember in their previous albums, ‘you were all I ever longed for.’
The album takes a dastardly turn after the first couple of songs. The tempo changes from their ‘newly established’ alternative sound and becomes slow and monotonous. Snake Eyes highlights this exact point. Marcus Mumford’s vocals are wearisome, with no emotion behind them. However the instruments build-up and are layered in a captivating style but sadly the juxtaposition with the vocals fails, allowing no build-up within the song.
Broad Shouldered Beasts is the only song in this album that has the nostalgic resemblance to the sounds from Sigh No More and Babel. Marcus’ vocal abilities resemble those we remember from the previous albums. The atmospheric feel of the song is built up through his vocals alone. The lyrics themselves are alluring and heartbreaking, ‘It’s alright, take it out on me.’ This song shows they still have that ability to reach their music out to every corner within a venue and really enhance their sound and creativity.
Wilder Mind itself is a decent album, it has good production from the fantastic James Ford (produced previous albums with Arctic Monkeys and Haim), however the most disappointing aspect of this album is the loss of Mumford & Sons and their unique sound. At the end of the day, this album will sell and it will bring in a whole new fanbase for the established band. It’s just apparent this album needs to come with a warning sign of ‘no banjos.’ There is hope for their fourth album, and we can only pray that there will be the mix of folk and their new sound to reach out to all.