There’s such a beautiful crop of albums that have recently been released or are upcoming! I always get so excited about these things. One of the albums I’ve been most excited about since the release date was announced was Babel, the new album from folk rockers Mumford and Sons. You may recall that I had the great honor of seeing them in August, which did nothing but make me even more antsy for this album after they played about four tracks from it that night. It’s nice to sit down and have the album at my disposal, though. I can concentrate more on the songs themselves that way. The album officially drops in the US on Tuesday, but we’re going to have a listen to right now.
The album opens merrily with the title track, Babel. The boys don’t beat around the bush with this – they jump feet first right into this record with this upbeat number. This really sets the scene for the rest of the album. I dare you not to tap your foot to this one – it’s nearly impossible.
I Will Wait is the first single from the album which I have already listened to more times than we’ll discuss here. I don’t know if it’s the ingenious nature of the song, the comfort of the banjos, or the memories this song elicits, but this song feels like home. It’s so peaceful. I can just close my eyes and I feel lighter. It was amazing seeing this one live. Maybe that’s why it feels so great – when they performed this song at the Bristol Stopover, I closed my eyes in the cool night air, hands up all around me and two of my best friends on either side. It was a magical moment and this song is incredible.
Lover of the Light was another I had the pleasure of seeing live. This song has a different feel to it from what I’m used to with the band, and I love the staggered notes before the chorus that bring a different depth to the tune. I also feel like Marcus’ vocals are taken to another level on this track. They’re so strong here and feel so smooth that it’s hard not to appreciate what you’re hearing.
Hopeless Wanderer is one of the strongest tracks on the album and happens to be my personal favorite. Beginning in the slow, melancholy realm that this band is known for, this song rocks you to sleep in its arms until it drops you all at once. Instruments I probably can’t even name come in and kick you in the face with such intensity that I got chills all over my being. The fast nature of the track is almost unnerving if you’re used to the band, but it again proves that this band can really accomplish anything.
Ending the album is the gorgeous Not With Haste, beginning quietly with some melodic acoustic guitar that mingles with Marcus’ gritty vocals. This song feels more like the last album, which is curious because it’s the song that (technically, without bonus tracks) wraps up the new album. It is nice, though, to be brought back down to earth after this album carried you through the stars. I need to mention briefly that the banjo work on this song is superb – Winston always rocks it out, but he’s given more of a secular platform in this one.
This band is one of the most talented bands in the game right now. Seeing them live, seeing how many instruments each of the play and how effortlessly they play them is really something else. Their records are a breath of fresh air and this one really knocked it out of the park for me. This is something people are going to be talking about for a long time. I suggest you hop on board.
And don’t forget to tune in to their Saturday Night Live performance(s) tonight at 11:29 p.m. ET on NBC!
Hopeless Wanderer (track 9)
I Will Wait (track 3)
Broken Crown (track 10)