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Album Review: Mumford and Sons diverge from folk origins

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Kayla Hockman
Staff Writer

If you are a fan of Mumford and Sons, then you are well aware of their musical formula.

Mumford and Sons, a folk rock band that has brought banjos to a modern age, utilizes catchy lyrics and soulful music to paint beautiful pictures for fans. However, their new album “Wilder Mind” abandons folk and produces a much more electronic alternative vibe.

The album is slightly disappointing, leaving listeners to think they just stumbled upon an undiscovered Coldplay album.

Much like Taylor Swift did with her most recent album “1989,” Mumford and Sons tried accomplishing a genre jump, leaving fans craving for their original folk sound.

Although it is disheartening to lose the folk feel, the new album is overall very good. It has great lyrics and an impressive sound, but it is not the Mumford and Sons music listeners have come to know and love.

Banjos are missing from the entire album, replacing the well-known acoustic vibe and sound with electronic instruments similar to Coldplay’s innovative, alternative rock style.

The band uses less of their popular excessive strumming of instruments and their shout-along, soulful harmonies. Instead, it is replaced by an overwhelming addition of electronic instruments paired with skillfully written lyrics.

There is also a new vocal approach. Lead vocalist Marcus Mumford moves in an understated direction with his vocals. On previous albums like “Sigh No More” and “Babel,” he often sang in a powerful raspy voice with songs like “I Gave You All” or “Hopeless Wanderer.”

With this new album, Mumford’s singing is more discreet yet bright, spotlighting his lower register to expose a more vulnerable side.

Although Mumford and Sons strayed from their folk acoustic side of music, they embrace the full rock side of their alternative sound. The band also sticks with similar themes of love and loss found on previous albums.

In the first released single “Believe,” they sing the lyrics “Open my eyes, tell me I’m alive,” with commanding drums and daring guitar flares. This sound only hints at Mumford and Sons’ future in the rock genre.

The subsequent released single “The Wolf” fully embraces the rock feel, dominated by high energy electric guitar strums and intensive drum beats. The lively song is combined with lyrics “Wide-eyed with a heart made full of fright,” followed by “Your eyes follow like tracers in the night,” comparing a love story to that of wolves. “The Wolf” recollects the familiar harmonizing Mumford and Sons is famed for, but everything is intensified.

The rock feel is definitely apparent and only reminds us that Mumford and Sons has moved into an obvious rock direction, leaving folk in the past and sidelines. The new sound only shows Mumford and Sons’ variety and versatility as artists.

The folk is gone, but the rock lives on, and so do the beautiful, heartbreaking lyrics.

Kayla Hockman can be reached at kayla.hockman@laverne.edu.

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