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Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More

Mumford & Sons, Sigh No More

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

MUMFORD & Sons finally release their debut album Sigh No More under a tremendous weight of expectation.

Having been buoyed by the enthusiastic response given to their various single and EP releases, as well as comparisons to both Crosby, Stills and Nash and Kings of Leon, they have a lot to live up to in ensuring the long-player realises the hype.

Fortunately, it does. While certainly perhaps more of an acquired taste given the propensity for country-tinged harmonies and banjo-heavy instrumentation, it’s a fine listen that signals the arrival of a major new talent.

Mumford & Sons are Marcus Mumford (vocals, guitar, bass drum, and tambourine strapped to his left foot and right), Ben Lovett (keyboards), Country Wilson (banjo, dobro, electric guitar), and Ted Dwane (bass)… and just from that roll call you can tell how musically talented they are.

Indeed, the scope of their instrumentation, and the way that they layer it into their engaging songwriting, is one of the major pluses of listening to Sigh No More.

Songs such as Winter Winds, for instance, contain a tremendously uplifting vibe courtesy of the keen mix of banjo and bass, while arriving in stark comparison to the more intimate likes of Roll Away Your Stone, which begins in utterly disarming fashion before opening up to grand heights.

The lovelorn White Blank Page is another tender slow-builder, with Mumford’s husky, lived-in vocals particularly effective in declaring his love against a slow-building instrumentation and ever more despondent lyrics (“oh tell me now where was my fault in loving you with my whole heart”). It’s a mini-epic and one of several highlights.

Another is former single Little Lion Man, a rousing a rampage about regret and unresolved heartbreak that contains thrilling banjo licks, and a rollicking sensibility that’s utterly infectious in spite of its downbeat lyrics.

The lyrics (“I really fucked it up this time, didn’t I my dear”) are also honest, heartfelt and pleasingly no-nonsense – and somehow designed to make you want to sing along.

And Awake My Soul is another slow-builder of terrifically rousing quality, unfolding into a foot-stompingly lively blend of banjo and percussion that enlivens lyrics such as “you were made to meet your maker”.

The album closes out with Dust Bowl Dance and the bluegrass After The Storm to ensure that it ends on as big a high as it began.

Mumford & Sons look like they’re here to stay… and should win countless fans along the way.

Download picks: Winter Winds, White Blank Page, Little Lion Man, Awake My Soul, After The Storm

Track listing:

  1. Sigh No More
  2. The Cave
  3. Winter Winds
  4. Roll Away Your Stone
  5. White Blank Page
  6. I Gave You All
  7. Little Lion Man
  8. Timshel
  9. Thistle & Weeds
  10. Awake My Soul
  11. Dust Bowl Dance
  12. After The Storm