A few years ago Mumford & Sons emerged from London with banjos blazing. “Babel” is projected to go gold in its first week, a rare rock commercial success in an era dominated by pop, hip hop, and electronic dance music. They bash away on mandolins, fiddles and dobros like a string band on steroids. The band has not changed much. Songs like “Below My Feet” and “Lover of the Light” have become familiar staples of the band’s live show, Babel has been road tested for nearly two years.
Most of the tracks on this album start off slowly, often with singing over acoustic guitar and gradually build with banjo, keys, bass, and vocal harmonies, the folk rock equivalent of a dubstep drop. It’s tough to fault Mumford & Sons for sticking with a successful algorithm. But it’s also tough to embrace a new album so reminiscent of its predecessor. The biggest surprise on the album is the nearly hard rock arrangement of “Broken Crown.” The hard rock arrangement of this track gives hope that the band can expand and grown in the studio.
I believe the Mumford formula is something to expand on rather than destroy, I am feeling a 4 out of 10.