Mumford & Sons – Wilder Mind Review

Neo-folk band Mumford & Sons have set down their banjos for the latest album, Wilder Mind, and picked up their electric guitars instead. The result? A bland collection of almost-rock that could easily be mistaken for a Coldplay album. Mumford & Sons have always been somewhat of a controversial band; it seems people either love them for their folky sound and repetitive, perfect-for-drunken-singalong lyrics, or despise them for their intensely dull banjo-strumming and the faux West Country vocals of front man Marcus Mumford. Personally, I’ve always been of the latter state of mind but was intrigued to hear that their latest album had lost the infuriating banjo and had more of a rock vibe. Perhaps I’d finally get past my dislike for the band as they set their gimmicky ‘folk’ front behind them.

Sadly, the album falls enormously short. The opening track, Tomkins Square Park, focuses on Mumford’s wailing, maudlin vocals and cliché lyrics of lost loves, and accompanies it with a dull, repetitive drumbeat and plain, twanging guitar. There is no passion in Mumford’s voice, and even less so in the music. There’s more of the same throughout the rest of the album; it’s hard to differentiate between tracks, such is the lack of variation in tempo, pitch and riffs. Even as a non-fan of this band, I can see the gaping canyon between this and their previous hit singles ‘I Will Wait’ and ‘Little Lion Man’, where Mumford spat out lyrics as though he truly believed them. Wilder Mind has none of this passion and as a result the album drags on and on, dull as dishwater and totally uninspiring.

The best part of the album? It has made me rethink the old Mumford & Sons. Listening back now, the strumming banjo isn’t so bad; at least it’s different.  I could even get involved in some drunken “I really fucked it up this time” singalongs because it marks the 2010 to 2012 heyday of a band who knew what they were before losing their way. It seems with Wilder Mind Mumford & Sons have tried to satisfy those who didn’t take to their neo-folk style, and in doing so they have pushed listeners further away. It’s a generic pop-rock release that no doubt many will find perfectly pleasant, but which few will mark down as a momentous moment in British music history.

Mumford & Sons – Wilder Mind = 2/10

Ellie Scott @elliemaryscott

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