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CD review: Babel (Mumford & Sons)
CD review: Babel (Mumford & Sons)

Mumford & Sons

Babel

Island

3.5 stars

Like many, I was somewhat conflicted when I first heard I Will Wait, the lead single from Mumford & Sons’ sophomore record, Babel.

There's nothing wrong with the track at all. It’s catchy, succinct without feeling stunted, and it summarises the band well. But really, it's nothing we hadn't already heard on their joyous debut, Sigh No More. What I was wanting from Babel was growth.

Where could this talented quartet go next? Would they evolve their stylistic palette? Maybe flesh things out with a bigger production? But the most noticeable thing about this release is how much space it shares with its older sibling.

Just as with I Will Wait, Babel on the whole is a very good album; strong harmonies, big singalongs and driving folk rhythms abound but with little more than some piano, strings and a smattering of brass to break things up, it just doesn't capture enough new ground for the band.

Tracks such as Broken Crown and Below My Feet feature what is perhaps the most considerable tonal development on the record, in a guttural snarl that laces Marcus Mumford's vocal lines, a welcome additional string to his bow.