After much hullabaloo (my order being lost in the post), I finally got my hands on the new Mumford and Sons album, Babel. As I’d gone out of my way to pre-order the deluxe edition (something I’ve never even considered for any other album), I was pretty disappointed to get the CD a full month after release, but I guess shit happens.
So here are my impressions of the album.
1) It sounds very… Mumfordy. They have a highly-recognizable style and Babel is pretty much all that. I found that they’ve really gone a bit overboard with the banjo – it’s gone from sounding cool and unique to sounding uncomfortably close to country music in some places. The lyrics are generally pretty good, although I haven’t picked up as many literary references yet.
2) There are no really stand-out songs. This was pretty disappointing to me. When I first listened to Sigh No More (the album, not the song), I instantly fell in love with certain tracks – that kind of weird clicking with a song where you listen to it on repeat every day for weeks. Babel… doesn’t have any tracks like that. The songs sound too similar and none of them really stand out. It’s lovely, but it’s boring. I was also hugely disappointed by their decision not to include the song Home, which is amazing and really should have been on the album.
3) They managed to not fuck up The Boxer. When I first saw this on the track list, I was like, OH NO THEY DIDN’T. It’s one of my favourite songs ever, and I was pretty skeptical that even Mumford would be able to go toe-to-toe with good ole S&G. But they do a fairly respectable job of it. A good job, even. I got goosebumps the first time, but not so much after that.
Overall, it’s a boring album with some decent tracks, but I haven’t felt anything approaching the gut-wrenching thrill of the first album yet. I’m still pretty glad I bought it, if only for the super gorgeous cover-art. Buy it if you’re a rabid fan; if not just check out their YouTube channel.