With the mention of Mumford and Sons, one thinks of a raging banjo or heart-on-your sleeve folk. However, these distinct elements are nowhere to be found in their new album Wilder Mind. How dare a band try to experiment musically? When eventually getting over the shock of the lacking folk instruments, a proper listen to this indie rock attempt is a futile experience. With a lack of interest and power, Wilder Mind is average at best.
Spending a few months apart after years and years of touring, Mumford and Sons magically returned to the studio in mutual agreement for their new sound and style. While I am all for taking musical risks in order to grow, this step into indie music isn’t a step forward for the band but rather a step backward. Mumford and Sons have conformed to the indie rock genre that has been sweeping the industry, and in doing so have lost their raw uniqueness.
From the introductory track Tompkins Square Park you are catapulted in the indie genre and rather unfortunately, you stay there for the whole album. This song is a dull opener and goes on for far too long without any real exploration. There is no sense of anticipation or movement, and the lyrics don’t do the song any favours. Most of the tracks on this album blend together and that is simply because of the uninspired drum beats.
The only song worth mentioning is The Wolf, which harbours the fast rhythmic pace of their old sound. This song is exciting and punchy from the very start. The lyrics within this song are also the best on the album, as the lyrics pair with the singer’s vocal belts at the climactic points in the song. The words succeed because they tap into the past brilliance of their complex lyrical piece The Cave. In pieces like this, Mumford and Sons demonstrate cleverness in intriguing storytelling.
Overall, as a fan of their folk style this album is very disappointing. While I can say I may be a little biased in my opinion, I would totally support the band in their creative exploration of indie if it actually heightened their ideas or sound. This album is dull and lacks heart and soul. Mumford and Sons garnered success because their sound was fresh and the ideas they explored were unlike anything in the industry at that time. While it may be hard to progress in such a traditional genre as folk, their debut album demonstrated a heap of promise and I wish it would’ve been cultivated in the rest of their musical journey.