Mumford And Sons have split the masses with their blend of pop folk loved by kiddies and musos alike. Well, the haters gonna hate. There’s no denying that second album ‘Babel’ is a rip-roaring record packed with earworm hooks, raucous banjo, a gravelly Marcus and an obligatory swear word. It’s not a departure from ‘Sigh No More’, with the opening title track especially sounding like it could have come from either. There’s not much depth, but there are some good tunes, from the sing-a-long-chorus of ‘Whispers In The Dark’, ‘I Will Wait’ and ‘Lover Of The Light’ to the gentle opening of ‘Hopeless Wanderer’, cascading into yet another Mumford-style belter. Only ‘Below My Feet’ dips a toe in a new direction with a glam bridge, more U2 than T-Rex, before jumping back on the folk path again.
Throughout, trumpet and strings, along with some nice harmonies showcased to the max on ‘Lovers’ Eyes’, flesh out the album, pushing songs from average to anthem. However, this mostly drum-less band should have left out the ridiculously over-produced percussion.
Lyrics seem to have been picked for their audience-participation potential, with loads more God references poking through, reaffirming their Christian roots, but they show off Marcus’ voice, unmistakably recognisable and as strong as ever, verging on ‘Ace Of Spades’ shoutiness in ‘Broken Crown’.
While ‘Babel’ is not going to change the face of music as we know it, it will be lapped up by Mumford fans. It’s very much a ‘if it ain’t broke’ album and, for now, that’s okay.
Words by GEMMA HAMPSON