tue 26/03/2019

CD: Mumford and Sons - Wilder Mind | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Mumford and Sons - Wilder Mind

CD: Mumford and Sons - Wilder Mind

Former hipster-folkies find their niche in AOR

Mumfords: moving their sound Stateside

Mumford and Sons, world conquering as they are, still fall victim to various accusations. Some, for instance, loathe their blandness. Others detect a whiff of smug middle class about them. Perhaps a more interesting observation, though, is how the band takes an intimate, personal musical form – folk – and turns it into something anthemic. Well, not any more. There’s nothing folk about Wilder Mind. Not a single banjo.

The anthems are fewer in number too. Like Noah and the Whale before them, the Mumfords have wholeheartedly waved goodbye to nu-folk and moved their sound Stateside. So, how does it suit them?

If moody soft rock is your thing, five tracks, in particular, should appeal. Surprisingly, for a band so well known for its acoustic foundations it’s Ben Lovett’s electric keyboards that dominate. Opener “Tompkins Square Park” melds slow synth chords with driving rhythms to evoke heartache on a summer’s night. The same is true of the title track; and “Monster” creates a similar atmosphere with guitars. More ambitious, though, are the upbeat keyboards and funky drums of “Just Smoke” which sound a little like the score to a Wes Anderson film. And finally, the album’s highlight is a simple strummed electric-guitar rock ballad called “Cold Arms”.

Unsurprisingly though, working such a mainstream sound also comes at a price. The lead single “Believe”, for instance, has a ponderous, saccharine, Snow Patrol feel. It's not the only one. There's “The Wolf”, a meat-and-potatoes guitar track which barely gets out of first gear. Still, the overall feel is of improvement; and, by the time you get to “Hot Gates” – the song which most echoes their old selves – you are left in no doubt that abandoning the hipster-folkie image was a good thing. It's as adult-orientated rockers that Mumford and Sons seem to have found their niche.

Overleaf: watch the band performing "Believe" live

There’s nothing folk about Wilder Mind. Not a single banjo

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Explore topics

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters