Mumford and Sons - Sigh No More

2009-11-16 | |

The rise in the popularity of folk-based groups and artistes has really been quite disconcerting lately. I suppose it started when people began to pay attention to Neutral Milk Hotel, when they became tossed around by every pretentious hipster (myself included) who wanted to out-indie their mates; that led to people checking out other indie-folk groups, like The Decemberists, and opened the doors for up-and-coming British artists like Laura Marling, Noah and the Whale, and the subjects of this review: Mumford and Sons.

Hailing from the same school-of-music as the aforementioned Ms Marling and Noah and the Whale, Mumford and Sons, headed by Marcus Mumford and three other like-minded musicians, has stormed the battlements of Radio One's dance-orientated listeners and won over the general youth demographic in the UK. It's something to generally be proud of, but, something that would normally put me off an artist.

I looked into these guys when I was introduced to them by a friend, with their first single Little Lion Man, and I wasn't really impressed by it. It was just another Noah and the Whale; a one-hit wonder as far as I was concerned. They weren't going to stand out. I was proved wrong, however, when Winter Winds took to the airwaves and made me think that maybe I should give these guys the credit they were owed.

Sigh No More is their debut album, having been on the shelves for just over a month (at the time of writing). In short, it's got the feel of a more polished Neutral Milk Hotel, with a hint of Paolo Nutini's catchy hooks, and the overwhelmingly cheery folksy angle mainly seen in albums from Zach Condon (of Beirut fame).

From the outset, it draws the listener in, enveloping them in guitars, drums, banjos, trumpets; walls of folksy-pop professionalism, if such a thing can exist. While I don't see them as having any real draw aside from their mish-mash of visible influences, I could see them maybe becoming a group who would genuinely make it into my annual "Top 10", just because the album fails to bore - it has those nuances of 'timelessness' found only in true pop, where a song or some songs can be played incessantly without killing the 'wow factor' buried in them.

All I feel that its missing is perhaps a sense of originality. I can see that it's good, but, as I've already pointed out, it really reeks of Neutral Milk Hotel and Paolo Nutini - of ballsy folk that is unashamedly pop. It lacks what I'd call a 'sense of self'; it's just an emulation of something that couldn't be done in Aeroplane Over The Sea, by putting it through far too much of a 'studio process'.

Overall: 7/10 - A good pop album, but, for me, it's just rehashing the works and styles of others; it's really worth getting, but it just fails to make me think "This is originality right here".

Top Track: Winter Winds

blog comments powered by Disqus