Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Mumford & Sons - Babel

Mumford & Sons are certainly not a band I would recommend or 'listen' to on a regular basis. That may be a bold statement, but it's true. Something’s in life are truly free, as is my expression; I'll never publish a fake review. This is legit expressionism and journalism covering a band called Mumford & Sons. The album is called Babel. If you're expecting what some would call a positive review, then you're in the wrong place. This is Music Review Database and here we review albums with some form of objectivity.

Now that I have your attention, I'd like to quote Ben Lovett. "We're the poor man's version of The Beatles." This statement in itself angers me, let alone the modest Beatles comparison. Mumford & Sons are the musical equivalent of Mitt Romney… Outspoken, clueless and downright artificial. We'll experience some more Mumford & Sons quotes later.

You don't have to be an NME reader to know about Mumford & Sons; they are literally everywhere. Forget Radio One, forget BBC advertisements and forget newspaper cover stories. Mumford & Sons are top dogs in the United States of America. Radio, TV like ESPN, my girlfriend’s dorm in Pennsylvania... There is no escape. 2009's debut album Sigh No More was generally well received. Certain audiences loathed Sigh No More, whilst others swallowed it up in a sweet 'authentic' gulp. Those in my vicinity were often left questioning me 'Fleet Foxes? Who are they?’ The harmonies are there, the single material stands out, but what was it about Mumford & Sons that left such a big scar on modern folk music. Was it the lack of originality? The depth? Structure? Or was it the tedious reality that they are nothing compared to the likes of Tim Buckley, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan and yes… Fleet Foxes.

So what does Babel sound like? Sigh No More. No really, it sounds like Sigh No More. On paper, three years have passed… On your IPod, nothing. This isn't surprising given their choice of direction. Mumford & Sons are a very commercial band. They don't manipulate sounds at all; it's actually quite sweet and baroque. The titular track has an ear catching, but simple guitar riff. Mumford & Sons are not special musicians. They're vaguely talented per se... This is something I think most listeners notice. Tracks like "Whispers In The Dark" and "Holland Road" do little to please or grab my attention. It's the 'vague' factor again. Yeah, they sound nice... It's lovely instrumentation, but its god damn bland. The progressions are predictable, one listen is enough for anyone to formulate an opinion.

"I Will Wait" does offer some form of 'catchy' material. The opening riff features the same range of instruments we've heard by Mumford & Sons in the past. This track is ultimately a Coldplay B-side with a banjo. The chorus is slow, obvious and quite annoying. Then again, I can just fuck off. Ben Lovett: "The cynics can just all fuck off." I'm beginning to dislike this guy. They put out tracks like "Ghosts That We Knew", a laid-back fingerpicking Americana-esque track. And "Lover of The Light", again, a slow laid-back and simplistic track. How can they expect people not to be cynical when they say, and I quote none other than Ben fucking Lovett, "We think this new record will attract a different audience. And broaden people's view of us." What complete and utter bollocks. What audience are they expecting? They have American girls in dormitories singing "Little Lion Man", nursing teachers singing along to "The Cave" on The Pulse (Sirius XM). This different audience doesn't exist. And no musical or lyrical segment on Babel will broaden people’s view of Mumford & Sons, I can assure you of that.

Mumford & Sons were once described, "A load of retarded Irish folk singers", by Mark E Smith. The Fall frontman seems to always step over the line. What he says might sound and read offensive and wrong, but there’s truth and correction within his words. Mumford & Sons themselves have criticised their own ability to play their instruments. Ben Lovett has stated, "We have no idea what we are doing, so if anyone thinks they have figured us out, they are five steps ahead of us.” I hate to break it to you Ben; we're not five steps ahead of you. You're just five steps behind everyone else. 

Babel comes down to one thing, and that’s originality. These tracks offer very little more than Sigh No More, I'd agree indefinitely to a Sigh No More > Babel view. This album never excites or surprises me. It just makes me want to turn it off and forget  about Mumford & Sons.



  1. Mr Gibson,

    your hatred of Mumford and Sons has clearly blinded you of recognizing musical talent. Yes, Babel is very similar to their debut album, but Mumford and Sons have discovered their sound which makes them unique as a band, and it seems they have decided to stick with that sound.

    Just because an artist doesn't want to experiment and use different sounds, does not mean they have no musical talent. Mumford and Sons might have experimented, but decided that it didn't suit them. All they want to do is make music, for the people who appreciate it. That's one of the things that makes them unique, sticking to their roots. Too many artists are trying to be something they're not, at least Mumford and Sons aren't like that.

    I am somewhat confused as to why you even mentioned comparisons between Fleet Foxes and Bob Dylan etc. They are not a band who look to exceed another musicians achievements. They merely take inspiration from Bob Dylan and others, as most musicians do. Marcus Mumford himself said that he believes turning music into competition is wrong.

    I also haven't got a clue why you bother quoting members of the band. They have gained a reputation for making stuff up in interviews and talking obvious bullshit. For example, they said they were planning to work with Jay-Z on their second album, and go down the hip hop route. Clearly that was a lie. They also said they would change completely and their second album would be 'doom folk', which anyone could have falled for. That too, was clearly untruthful.

    And you can't accuse them of having a lack of originality. No other band combines literature and folk music to produce some of the most amazing songs. If you took the time to appreciate and understand their lyrical skill, then perhaps you would be less ignorant.

    Mumford and Sons are not a band who seek to be original, they naturally are. The modern music industry has become an international competition, with too many categories. Mumford and Sons avoid this, and their only aim is to make music to please those who appreciate it.



    1. Hi Mr Anon,

      I don't hate Mumford & Sons, I merely dislike their music because it's simple minded folk for simple minded people.

      Mentioning Fleet Foxes / Dylan / Buckley was to convey what folk can be, and what level M&S are compared to these modern and historic greats. I agree with Chief Mumford, music shouldn’t be a competition, there's just better music... It's like comparing Pulp Fiction to The Room.

      I don't think Mumford & Sons are unique, and their lyrics are below average.

      Lovett and co may make shit up in interviews; it just goes to shows how unprofessional they need to be in order to attract that folk coolness. Still, these are quotes, and when you're giving answers in a professional environment, then you shouldn’t sway from honesty and truth; even for comedy.

      If it makes me ignorant for disliking their music and lyrics, then so be it. You, the BRITS and millions of people are in the majority against me.

      I'm glad you appreciate their music and that you have taken your time to defend M&S's honour.

    2. you say that Mumford has experimented, that's a lie fabricated by you to protect your biased opinion. Every poin this guy made is correct

    3. Ahhh this review brings me back.

      Bravo, but I don't think anyone said M&S experimented with Babel.

      "Mumford and Sons might have experimented, but decided that it didn't suit them." - I think (s)he was trying to say that M&S may have opted to shake things up, but decided changing a set direction wasn't for them (or their label/fans.) The minute M&S DO experiment is the minute the popular critics start to pan them, and fans start to question like the alternative critics do.

      But - opinions are opinions, and M&S will be making albums like this for years to come and i'll continue to note that in reviews.