The banjo is gone, it’s time to put the guitar front and centre. Bare this in mind, all bands need to grow and progress in order to survive. From the first moments of WILDER MIND, opening track ‘Tompkins Square Park’ tells you that this is a band that are ready to move on and grab new fans. 2009 was a long time ago, and with each album has come a new level of respect and success. That year’s SIGH NO MORE and 2012’s BABEL each held a different beast, though of the same species. WILDER MIND tells you immediately this is a new territory altogether. Rock is central, the folk roots are toughened up, and the tones of Marcus Mumford are still as welcoming.
Jamborees are not on the agenda this time; Mumford & Sons have toughened themselves up to bring a new dynamic to compete with the old schoolers. The lyrics are still greatly set to complement the vocals that Marcus delivers, but the music is definitely edgier than previous. When a band changes its style to fit a more contemporary state, many consider it as “selling out”. From what I hear when it comes to ‘The Wolf’ is that the band are making music they enjoy, it fits them perfectly. Inspiration for some of these songs are quite clear, a few Bruce Springsteen moments flash up during the play of the album. Many influences appear, but this album will still sound original.
Many albums from established bands have taken a more electronic route. Noah And The Whale saw success when using it with LAST NIGHT ON EARTH, Linkin Park won back fans with LIVING THINGS, but I can’t see Mumford & Sons would have made it work, not yet anyway. There are a few elements, but nothing too obvious. This is a rock album, not too heavy but enough to make your average sound system shake. Many fans may miss the more folk-focused songs, but do embrace this release as it gives a lot. From the first listen of ‘Believe’, I knew there was a change in the air. The guitars and piano work are so prominent, it is nice to see Mumford & Sons really give focus to a different instrument and produce some grand results. This album may not be game-changing in the world of music; it is for the band we have been listening to for the last six years.
Final rating: 9/10
Written by Jonjo Cosgrove